Parklets aren’t cheap — by any stretch of the imagination.
Many in the Bay Area, even before factoring in the cost of permit fees, can cost upwards of $10,000. But in a time marked by social distancing and rising COVID-19 cases (that are linked toward indoor activities), they’ve become essential for businesses to build, should they want to stay financially afloat. Or have a shot at doing it.
It’s this very reason why the Oakland Indie Alliance — an independently run organization supporting our small companies communities in the East Bay with direct aid, advocacy, marketing campings — is seeking out help to support these local businesses. The mostly volunteer-run venture has also partnered with Oakland’s Office of Economic Development to utilize the sidewalks and streets to build parklets for needy businesses at no cost to the business owners; this alleviates the need for business most in danger of closing some respite and hope.
As of now, at least three parklets (ones for Sobre Mesa, Fort Green, and La Frontera) have been completed in downtown Oakland, and two more are currently underway; more are also in the works, too.
Executive Director of the Oakland Indie Alliance Ari Takata-Vasquez wants to do more, explaining in a press release that for many small businesses in Oakland, “these parklets are a lifeline.”
And by creating more space for outdoor activations in Oakland, it’s a win across the board — without contention. Parklets allow struggling eateries to foster and build their customer bases in safe, socially distant fashions; they offer a semblance of pre-pandemic normalcy to patrons desperate for some consoling and socializing; they help people reconnect with not only the urban outdoors — parks, playgrounds, community centers, etc. — but help us reaming what cities can look like with car-free streets.
All this said: Oakland Indie Alliance needs your support, especially both material and financial speaking. If you have the means and would like to help the collective’s efforts, visit oaklandindiealliance.com/parklets. You also donate to their other two initiatives — the COVID-19 relief fund and a donation funnel to help local businesses who were damaged from this summer’s BLM protest — here and there, respectively.
// oaklandindiealliance.com/parklets; feature photo courtesy of the Oakland Indie Alliance.