Grants available for downtown parklets
By Heather Graves
GREEN BAY – The City of Green Bay is offering a new grant program for businesses looking to extend their premises outdoors.
Parklets resemble decks or patios constructed within parking spaces on city streets to allow businesses to offer more seating or retail space.
“(I’m) just really glad that we are able to provide this grant program for our downtown businesses,” Mayor Eric Genrich said. “To me, it is really obvious that our streets are public spaces and are important for the circulation of traffic, but even when you talk about traffic that includes pedestrians, cyclists, transit and of course people in motor vehicles. But like I said, our streets are public spaces and should be used to benefit our citizens and our businesses. I’m really excited about what this indicates for us, as a city.”
The city council helped pave the way for the program in June 2020, when it adopted a parklet policy.
Though it passed as a response to the pandemic when social distancing was needed, the intention was always to continue it permanently.
“This was very consequently a communication that was actually submitted prior to the pandemic and it was recognizing that other communities were having a great deal of success with parklets in their respective communities,” District 9 Alderperson Brian Johnson said. “And I think the effects of the pandemic certainly accelerated and highlighted some of the additional advantages of being able to create open spaces within our community.”
Johnson said parklets allow for the organic creation of active street fronts.
“This is about life downtown,” Johnson said. “You think about the amount of time, energy and resources in our respective organizations trying to coordinate events and activate street fronts, and this is a way for us to let that happen organically. People come downtown, not for parking stalls, but for amenities.”
Interested businesses would be issued a three-year permit for $200.
The seasonal structures may be in place from May 1 through Oct. 31.
If businesses would like to serve alcoholic beverages within the parklets, a premises extension to their liquor license would be needed through the clerk’s office.
The Downtown Parklet Grant Program is open to business owners, nonprofits and commercial property owners in or within a half-mile radius of Tax Increment District No. 5, located in downtown Green Bay on the east and west banks of the Fox River.
The grant provides up to $5,000 to recipients to use toward materials or construction of their parklet for things such as lumber, lighting, paint and plants, as well as permit costs.
Applications must be submitted by July 9.
City Design Specialist Erin Rovinsk said if funds are still available after the first funding round, a second round will be offered with a due date of Aug. 13.
She said subsequent rounds may be released if funds are available.
“Visually, I think it is a unique amenity that when you drive through downtown, and you see these, they add life,” Jeff Mirkes, director of Downtown Green Bay and Olde Main Street, said. “That is what we want, as well. When people come to our downtown, they are going to see more activity, more things happening, and I believe a parklet is just another new entity that can help put a signature on downtown as a cool factor.”
More information on the program and the application process can be found online by CLICKING HERE.