The City of Lethbridge is converting parking space to people space by testing out Parklets in front of downtown businesses.

Parklets were first introduced in San Francisco in 2005 and are now a mainstay in several communities across North America.

Urban Revitalization Manager, Andrew Malcolm, says it involves extending the seating area in front of a business out into the street by taking up one or two parking spaces.

There are currently Parklets in front of Tacos Made in Mexico on 3rd avenue south and Umami Shop on 4th avenue south and Malcolm says a few more are also in the works.

Parklets aim to foster a sense of community by creating places for people to sit, relax, visit and enjoy the city.

Lethbridge’s pilot program offers two forms of support for businesses interested in establishing a Parklet in front of their business. The first option is financial support for the design and construction of a Parklet including a matching grant up to $1,000. The second option is to borrow the City owned Parklet infrastructure at no cost to the business. With either option, the pilot program will also cover the $300 fee for a Parklet permit.

The Heart of Our City Committee is also gathering community feedback to determine if Parklets should be a more permanent fixture in downtown Lethbridge.

Parklet in front of Tacos Made in Mexico. Photo Credit MyLethbridgeNow.com (Tina Karst)