Kennett Placemakers: A Competition to Make KSQ More Livable and Lovable
Here are a few recent examples of KSQ placemaking implemented by Historic Kennett Square:
Problem: No place for outdoor dining on a narrow sidewalk
Multi-phase solution: Tables in parking spaces, then a parklet
At the beginning of the pandemic, Lily’s put some tables on the sidewalk for outdoor dining. Because the sidewalks on the south side of State Street are narrow, pedestrians were having to step into the street. Wright blocked off two parking spots in front of the restaurant with traffic cones and helped move the tables into the parking spots. While not ideal (due to the slope of the road and the nearby lane of traffic), it worked for the evening and the idea for the parklet was born. This popular and attractive, but still temporary, structure was built after several months spent fundraising, talking with the restaurant owners on the block, and designing a parklet for this space.
Problem: Local Santa photo opps were cancelled, and it felt important to infuse some safe but fun and interactive installations as part of Historic Kennett Square’s Christmas in Kennett.
Solution: A KSQ snow globe selfie station where families and friends, residents, and visitors, could capture fun holiday memories during this unprecedented season.
Problem: Out of town visitors coming out of the parking garage aren’t sure which direction to go or what there is to see and do in Kennett Square.
Solution: A “birdhouse” brochure holder (built by John Siepelinga) in the flower bed is stocked with brochures featuring a map and a QR code to the Historic Kennett Square website.
Problem: A small sandwich shop and butcher on a residential street wants to raise its profile
1. A feature article in the HKS e-newsletter, with professional photographs, was also sent to local news outlets and shared on social media. Knowing the story of the owner and more about his quality products (and that employees also speak English) brought more customers.
2. HKS also donated a picnic table from last year’s parklet for customers to sit outside.
3. The business owner added an umbrella and also invested in new signage, a façade improvement, and hanging flower baskets.
4. HKS liaised with an artist from Casa Guanajuato, a local partner nonprofit, to paint the picnic table with beautiful and meaningful designs reflecting the culture and story of the owner.
Problem: Lifeless packed-dirt “hellstrips” along the South Broad Street sidewalk.
Solution: Historic Kennett Square’s Kennett Blooms project included hiring a local horticulturalist to remediate the soil and add hardy and attractive plantings to these beds.
Here are a few examples of the kinds of incremental improvements and placemaking projects (with bigger budgets) that have made better places for people around the country:
- Downtown Frederick, MD, sponsored a similar community placemaking competition in 2018. Eventually, all four projects they selected as finalists were funded and implemented.
- ReForm Shreveport is an organization that seeks to “rebuild trust and community to create a more enjoyable, financially-sound, and prosperous city” through events, workshops, and neighborhood projects.
- The city of Brainerd, Minnesota invested in improvements to a neighborhood after studying how people live and travel in this neighborhood and identifying their struggles. A report detailing the results of those efforts in 2014 can be found here.
- AARP Livable Communities has some great free online resources full of tips and inspiration—their Pop-Up Placemaking Tool Kit is one example.
- The Better Block Recipe Library is another fun place to explore placemaking.