The small pop-up park that opened in Wellesley Square at Cross and Central Streets at the start of June has had its life extended until Nov. 15.
There had been talk of letting it go through the winter as well, but the board decided to cut things off mid-November. When the parklet was initially approved, it was agreed that its fate would be revisited by Sept. 1, and that’s what happened at the Aug. 30 Select Board meeting (about 2 hours, 20 minutes into the Wellesley Media recording).
The parklet has been used heavily from morning to night by families, passersby, and even for meetings (“I feel like this has filled a huge hole in Wellesley Square,” said Board Chair Lise Olney). It has also been used during Wellesley Square Merchant events, and there are plans to use it during a couple of upcoming ones. The space has become better looking as the summer has gone along, as the town was able to access more of the gear it had ordered (yes, supply chain issues…) and commissioned the painting of some of the barriers.
While the parklet has been popular with the general public, some neighbors and merchants have argued for limiting its existence because of the impact it has on traffic flow. Select Board member Beth Sullivan Woods said that some skepticism by merchants has dissipated since the parklet opened in light of its popularity among users, though she said some would still like to see it close by the end of October to free up traffic flow for the holiday shopping season.
Wellesley Executive Director Meghan Jop says one reason to extend the parklet’s life into November is to study traffic patterns in the fall vs.. summer in the area. This could inform future decisions about making such a parklet permanent or allowing its season to be longer than it has been during this initial pilot program.
The parklet next to Cafe Mangal will also close Nov. 15.
Al Faber says
Hi Bob. The parklet has had such a meaningful impact on peer to peer interaction on vendors, residents, visitors and the Wellesley brand as a welcoming community. What a shame to lose same.
Best regards, Al Faber.