The Pocket Park: Tiny But Mighty Fun

Fishers, Indiana Pocket Park

There is a small stretch of my town that has so much potential. It has good sidewalks, several nice shops and restaurants within walking distance of each other, a weekend farmers market, and an ice cream shop to die for. The only drawback? There isn’t a public space to gather. Sure, you can sit outside at a restaurant or jockey for a space on a small brick wall (and watching moms like me try to hoist themselves up on said brick wall is part of the entertainment), but if you want a nice place to sit and visit or simply people watch, you’re out of luck. I always thought that was such a shame.

Earlier this summer I noticed that a small lot adjacent to the ice cream shop was getting a facelift. An eyesore of a building was demolished and the lot was cleaned up. Pavers and landscaping soon followed. Around the same time there was an announcement on my town’s Facebook page that they were developing the community’s first Pocket Park. They asked for guesses as to where the first park might be, as well as took suggestions for areas within the community that could use one.

What exactly is a Pocket Park? Also known as a Pop-Up Park, it is a small space within a town or city that is accessible to the general public. They are often built on vacant lots or other unused spaces. Because they are meant to simply provide a green space for community to gather and sit, they are inexpensive and fairly simple to plan and execute. They don’t require costly playground equipment or fancy features.

As you might have guessed, the area we witnessed undergoing the transformation was indeed the location of our first Pocket Park. From start to finish I would say it was completed in under 2 months. It has several benches to sit on, places to park bikes, a chalkboard wall, and my favorite feature: a ping pong table.

Fishers, Indiana Pocket Park

The ping pong table was the brainchild of a nearby local clothing shop, Vardagen. You can either bring your own ping pong balls and paddles, or you can pop into the shop and borrow some.

I love that we live in such a playful community, and that they consider the fact that all ages need playful spaces. Is this a great park for toddlers and preschoolers? No, but we have many parks in the community that meet that need. Is it a great park for tweens, teens and adults? Absolutely. Whether you’re playing ping pong, writing a message, or talking and laughing with friends, you’re having fun and that is the essence of play. Rarely do we walk or drive by the park and not see at least a few people gathering there.

I hope to see more of these Pocket Parks in my community. Is this something you’ve seen in your community? If you could design your own Pocket Park, where would you put it and what elements would you include?

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Comments

  1. We haven’t had a chance to check it out yet but drive by often! I especially like that the line of folks at Handel’s will have a place to actually hang out instead of just sitting on the wall.

    I will say- I’m concerned what will happen to my quaint little downtown when the new building is done. And I think the “eyesore of a building” was at some point someone’s home…