Better Block, the urban design nonprofit that not too long ago transformed an empty lot in South Dallas into a bustling pop-up park, is looking to do the same to a shopping center at the northwest corner of Forest and Audelia.
The Park at Forest and Audelia will open Friday, with an official opening party at 12:30 p.m. Saturday and daily programming on the schedule through Nov. 14. Volunteers who can help build it this week should sign up here.
What’s being built? Per the press release from Better Block:
About 3,500 square feet in area with landscaping and planters, the pop-up park features sport courts, wireless internet, flexible lawn space, shade, seating, a community garden, a children’s play area and daily activities. Kids U provides after school homework help the entire month; Junior Players teaches creative writing, flamenco dance and theater workshops; Pepsico provides meals and snacks. Weekends and weekdays are packed with entertainment, arts activities, exercise classes, health and library programs. Public seating can support more than 100 guests and includes signature Better Block’s Wikiblock furniture pieces, outdoor air hammocks, movable tables and café sets. A muralized, shaded stage supports a full-sized band or a dance group and also serves as an outdoor classroom.
The city’s parks department recently bought the land where this pop-up park will pop up. The city is working with Better Block, Project Safe Neighborhood, and community leaders in the neighborhood to make this thing happen.
The idea, similar to the pop-up park in South Dallas this spring, is to demonstrate the site’s long-term potential and to see what neighbors want or don’t want it to permanently become. It’s a brainstorming session as much as anything.
The neighborhood around Forest-Audelia has seen high rates of crime and poverty. Better Block says transforming public space—from a rundown shopping center to an inviting park with sports and workshops—can help build community and reduce crime.
Here are the quotes from the press release:
Kristin Leiber, Better Block senior project manager, said, “We have worked with the community to see what resources and elements they would like to see in the park, and their top choices were green space, resources and activities, and a kids’ play area. Along with the City of Dallas Parks Department, we are excited to be working on a design that meets the city’s and community’s needs. We have 30 days of programming from nonprofit partners and small businesses that will activate the space regularly and with purpose, especially on the weekends.”
Dallas Councilmember Adam McGough of District 10 said, “The persistence and resilience of so many made possible the launch of this temporary-park installation. This important step marks another key milestone on the journey toward making Forest-Audelia a safer, more vibrant place at which neighbors and families may live, work and gather. I’m thankful for the work of the Better Block Foundation and so many other community partners who are bringing to life the vision for a better future at this site. I’m eager to witness community members enjoying this temporary space and to listen to neighbors’ feedback to ensure the new, permanent space to come proves a longstanding community asset.”