City Council approves adding pocket park to downtown Kent

Celia Fernandez

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The Community Development Committee of the Kent City Council voted 8-0 to begin plans for a pocket park between Bar145 and The Landmark Building, framed by Erie Street and Lock Lane.

A pocket park is a very small park or outdoor area for public leisure, especially an urban plaza or courtyard with benches and fountains. City council is still finalizing plans for the park and should finish them within three to seven weeks.

“The prominent features that have been proposed are: urban swings, a gaming area, benches, trees and a stage,” said Jim Bowling, superintendent of engineering for the City of Kent.

During a Community Development Committee meeting Sept. 3, City Manager Dave Ruller said with the popularity of the downtown area and restaurants, it became obvious that open space was an opportunity to elevate the experience in downtown Kent with a park-like setting.

“It creates a place for people to go without having to spend money to be there so they can enjoy downtown,” Bowling said. “For those who live in downtown Kent it’s almost like having a yard.”

The pocket park will be under the responsibility of the College Town Kent LLC due to the proximity it has to the properties that are already owned by the company.

“A lot of what is going to go into the park will be determined from how much money we raise,” Bowling said. “The rest is coming from College Town Kent and some features may come from the city.”

In the downtown Kent area, there are a large number of businesses and not a lot of green space open for people within the redevelopment area.

“One of the features of great cities is that they have great public spaces,” Bowling said. “We are looking to make this a great public space that we have downtown Kent.”

Coming to an agreement with College Town Kent LLC

College Town Kent LLC is a development company that includes the Davey Tree building, the AMETEK building and the residential building, The Landmark.

The two parcels of land located behind Bar145 will be what make up the pocket park. The City of Kent owns the stone walkway, and College Town Kent LLC owns the green area right next to it.

“This is going to be a corporate agreement, where the city will be making improvements to some hardscape elements that are currently there,” said Regan Gettens, vice president of property management of Fairmount Properties. “We, as the College Town Kent LLC, will be installing stone elements and a gaming area where kids would feel comfortable running around.”

The main focus of the pocket park is to create a space where people can gather while being surrounded by the buildings in downtown Kent, but also honor the legacy of the former Economic Development director of Kent, Dan Smith, who died in July after a long battle with cancer.

“It’s a place that Dan Smith’s efforts and his vision for downtown will be able to be acknowledged permanently the contributions that he made for so many years before his passing,” Gettens said.

Contact Celia Fernandez at [email protected].