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Park to Park (P2P) is a concept, developed by Bridge of Grace and architecture student Nick Geers that will begin to address these concerns, by transforming vacant lots as well as underutilized parking lots into places of community recreation and social interaction.
Surveys of residents revealed that youth and adults would like to see the neighborhood become a more beautiful place, with more space for social and recreation activities. P2P will not only improve the variety and availability of play and social spaces in the neighborhood, but also provide an opportunity for local residents, young & old, to be an integral part of that effort. Park to Park fosters civic engagement and resourcefulness by engaging community residents in the process of determining the use of each lot, and engaging them in the process of building design solutions.
BGCMC sees the P2P strategy as an easily replicable model of a low-cost, low-risk solution that can begin to fulfill "big goals" like transforming public spaces, and building new community amenities.
At the project’s conclusion, Geers will produce a booklet documenting the P2P community engagement process and illustrating how others might execute a similar project on their own (or within the context of their own neighborhood).
In the interest of ensuring that theP2P concept be replicable and accessible we felt it essential to develop a design that could be realized with low-cost, easily obtained materials, and using simple construction tools and techniques. For that reason, P2P is comprised of “pods” that are “infilled” with various materials- including tires and pallets,- to create play “activities” including: monkey bars, pallet –climb, tire-swing, tire-walk, etc.
Park to Park (P2P) is an easily replicable model of a low-cost, low-risk solution that can begin to fulfill "big goals" like transforming public spaces and building new community amenities. It will serve as a pilot project for BGCMC’s Vacant Lot Activation Initiative, to transform 6+ of Mount Vernon Park’s (MVP)15 vacant lots.
MVP which shares the following conditions with many communities: residents who desire a beautiful and well connected neighborhood, students with limited access to creative outlets, an ample supply of vacant lots, and relatively limited resources. Furthermore, MVP is similar to many neighborhoods in that the ability to depart (to a “better” community) has become the ultimate marker of success.
In the long term, we believe that including young people, and community residents, in a process of civic engagement–which we define as people working together to identify and address public concerns- will help strengthen neighborhoods not only through beautification, but also by beginning to shift how young people and their families perceive and engage with their environment- from spaces to grow beyond to places that can be grown and grown with. This improved perception of the MVP neighborhood will be evidenced by its increased desirability (reduced vacancy and tenant “turn-around “and increased interest in home-ownership).
In the short term, activating a vacant lot-an outcome itself- will foster civic engagement and community pride while encouraging play and increased physical activity (measured by increased participation rates in neighborhood-oriented programs and the number of families visiting the P2P installation, respectively.) Throughout the engagement and installation processes P2P will provide opportunities for residents to connect and build social ties as they discuss and implement measures to improve the neighborhood together. Ultimately we hope project participants will gain a sense of accomplishment, pride in their community, and few new friends.
The Park to Park (P2P) project will be executed by Bridge of Grace Compassionate Ministries Center in partnership with various entities and organizations in the Mount Vernon Park (MVP) neighborhood and beyond.
Bridge of Grace’s leadership has served MVP for over seven years. The trust and positive track record we have built will be instrumental to our success in implementing – and engaging residents in – projects.
We believe that the expertise of our staff- in fields of architecture, community development, project management, strategic planning, and volunteer coordination- will provide a strong foundation for P2P’s execution, and, that our combined 60+ years of living in Fort Wayne has yielded strong relationships that will yield fruitful inter-organizational partnerships when there is a need to build-upon our capacity.
Project and community partners include the following:
P2P was developed in response to resident concerns. Surveys of MVP residents revealed that youth and adults would like to see the neighborhood become a more beautiful place, with more space for social and recreational activities. After identifying vacant lot activation as a mechanism to address community concerns, our student partner- Nicholas Geers- engaged residents in the project's inspiration and ideation phases: collecting input regarding Park to Park’s location, use, and design. BGCMC plans to host “Community Build Days” in the Fall and Spring for community members who would like to participate in the project’s implementation.
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