A lackluster parking lot in Dallas’ Woodbridge neighborhood has transformed into a lively and colorful community park with a basketball court, ground murals and a children’s play area.
It’s the latest pop-up park created by the Better Block Foundation, a Dallas-based nonprofit that designs and builds semi-permanent community spaces.
“We wanted to create ground murals that were vibrant and playful,” said Better Block executive director Krista Nightengale. “They’ve been described as an appealing unicorn aesthetic, so we’re going to go with that.”
The 3,500-square-foot park is located in a shopping center off of Forest Lane and Audelia Road. It’s slated to be up through Nov. 14 with programming scheduled throughout its stay.
On weekdays, there’s free after school tutoring and free meals for kids. There are also workshops on creative writing, theater, dance and art. Adults too can come to the park for classes on fitness, digital literacy and more.
Nightengale said the park’s 30-day window is intentional.
“For one, you embrace the fear of permanency,” she said. “That way, people can test out the concept and see if they like it. If their fears are founded and they don’t like it, then you don’t have to do it.”
She says community input is key to the process. There are survey boards posted at the park where residents of the neighborhood can leave their thoughts.
Lauren Avant, a UT Arlington student teaching art classes for kids, was a little skeptical about the parking lot concept before seeing the space.
“But, there’s no weirdos. It’s pretty safe,” she said. “I think it’s easy access. Everybody can come to it. We even have adults here, so it’s not just kids. I love it. I think it’s a good idea.”
Better Block worked with Project Safe Neighborhood, the Dallas Park and Recreation Department and Board, and Dallas Councilmember Adam McGough’s office to bring the park to life.
“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,” McGough said in a statement.
The Parks Department has purchased the property, and the ultimate goal is to turn it into a permanent park that the community will actually use and appreciate, Nightengale said.
“I’m not saying that it is exactly what the community wants to see, but that’s what these 30 days are for,” she said. “Because it is a demonstration, we can bring it to life in days rather than decades, and people get to experience it immediately.”
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