By EMILY SHARRER | Daily News Record
HARRISONBURG — Supporters of the Northend Greenway, a 2.5-mile multi-use trail that would connect the north side of Harrisonburg to downtown, are excited about the possibilities for the trail and surrounding neighborhoods.
James Madison University visiting assistant professor of interior design Evelyn Tickle sees the Greenway as a miniature Valley version of the Cinque Terre — a string of five villages on the Italian Riviera linked together by walking trails.
Christina von Rotz-Brunk, on the other hand, sees it, partially, as a space where children will run free in an outdoor play space, while Sarah Murphy dreams of a trail that promotes exercise, natural beauty and conversation.
All three are in agreement, however, that they would like to see the first $1.3 million phase of the project come to fruition. That’s why on Friday, Tickle, Rotz-Brunk and Murphy were part of the greenway’s latest fundraiser, the Parklet Project.
Local artists, residents, businesses and schools participated in transforming parking spaces throughout downtown Harrisonburg into miniature parks.
The two-day event was meant to show area residents what a city with more public space for urban parks, recreation or social interaction would look like. The parklets were disassembled Saturday at noon.
Image: Chloe Mapes, a junior at James Madison University, takes a picture of her parklet. Mapes and her team, JMU Interior Design, constructed the mini-park in the municipal parking lot in Harrisonburg on Friday as part of the Park(let) Project.
“The bigger point is to imagine space,” said Murphy, a member of the promotional committee for Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance and the education committee for the Northend Greenway. “I think doing something like this makes us aware of the possibilities and takes us outside of the norm. I think we really need to spend some time thinking about what our world should look like.”
In all, 13 groups paid a $50-to-$60 fee to develop their own parking space-sized site, including ones that looked like actual parks, with benches and shrubbery, sculpture gardens and fall-themed areas with hay and pumpkins.
“I love the idea of taking space like a parking space away temporarily and making it green space and turning people’s heads,” said von Rotz-Brunk. “[Harrisonburg] is my hometown and I’m really glad the way it’s blossoming; it’s fun to be part of the development.”
From the Greenway: Special thanks to The Gaines Group, Arts Council of the Valley, Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance and LD&B Insurance for making this community event possible.