Athens residents found a little bit more green in the heart of downtown last Friday, thanks to a temporary park set up by University of Georgia students.

On Sept.15, a group of UGA students from the College of Environment and Design gathered to install a temporary public park on College Avenue in downtown Athens. Organized through the Georgia Students of Landscape Architecture (GSLA), the temporary park replaced several metered spaces with a lawn of synthetic grass. The event included activities like cornhole and an open mic session.

Stuart Harriott, one of the members of GSLA who helped organize the event, said a primary goal was showing people what it would be a like to have a green space in that area rather than parking spots.

“It just shows how the community really comes out, and it really turns into a great aspect and makes the town realize what it would be like to have a park there,” Harriott said.

Inspired by PARK(ing) Day, a worldwide event that occurs annually on the third Friday in September, the temporary park was a non-commercial initiative. According to PARK(ing) Day’s website, a primary initiative behind creating these temporary parks is bringing artists and enthusiasts together and encouraging a public dialogue. And to inspire civic engagement, unscripted social interactions and play.

According to Benjamin Gladstone, Vice President of GSLA, a primary goal was keeping the event informal and casual, and proposing alternative ways for using parking spots.

“Whether it is a cornhole match area, [a place] people can just hang out and lounge or you can hold a concert here,” Gladstone said.

According to Gladstone, the event was inspired by a temporary public park installation two years ago. A primary objective this year, Gladstone said, was making the event larger than the ones in the past.

“I’m pretty proud of it. We had a lot of people come and work really hard,” Gladstone said.

written by: Clint Owens