An empty parcel of land on Clarks Summit’s Depot Street will soon be filled with the sounds of children playing and the sight of hand-painted stepping stones by local residents thanks to an idea that was presented to borough council.
When Sarah Dawgert moved back to her hometown after living away for 20 years, she noticed that there were no green spaces in Clarks Summit’s downtown area. She approached borough council with the idea of creating a pocket park, which takes parcels of land and turns them into useable space, in the business district so that both adults and children could come together and “go green.”
“We are billing it as a multipurpose, multi-generational accessible green space,” Dawgert said. “It’s not just for kids or families, we have such a diverse population in terms of age in the borough and in the whole area.
“I can remember growing up here that we had a real sense of community, this is all about wanting to help foster and build a sense of community,” she continued. “You might meet new folks there or meet up with friends there. It could also be another venue for all the great events that Clarks Summit puts on. It can be another venue for musicians or art or the Ice Festival, it can extend the main area down a block.”
The property to be used for the pocket park is the former Maria property near where Depot Street intersects with Winola Road. The property, which was originally the site of a finishing shop, was donated to the borough by the Maria family. In light of its original use, the park will be named “Finish Shop — A Pocket Park on Depot Street.” The park has also received a grant from Lackawanna County for the purpose of clearing it and fencing it in.
The construction of the pocket park will coincide with the renovations set to begin on Depot Street beginning in mid May. Depot Street renovations will include new sidewalks and lighting.
“We want it to be a ‘wow’,” said borough mayor Patty Lawler. “We’d eventually like Depot Street to become an art community here in Clarks Summit. We want this park to be a community park where once we get launched, we will ask for volunteers. It means so much more when the community is involved.”
Part of the way the community can get involved before construction on the park even begins is through a rock painting fundraiser that will take place during the borough’s Earth Day/Arbor Day festivities this Sunday, April 27, from noon to 4 p.m. at the Abington Art Studio, 208-10 Depot Street. Owner Diana Lombardi, who is also the artistic coordinator for the pocket park, said why this fundraiser will give way to a permanent fixture in the park.
“As a committee, the idea came about to do a rock painting fundraiser with children and family to come and buy a rock and have 100 percent proceeds go towards the pocket park, with the idea that these rocks would eventually be turned into stepping stones that will be placed throughout the park,” she said. “We want them to be a permanent fixture and have them brighten up the space with color and art. It will also be an egg hunt in a way for the kids to come and find their piece.”
For people who are unable to attend the rock painting fundraiser, other opportunities will take place during the borough’s Memorial Day parade on Monday, May 26, as well as additional chances throughout the summer months.
Anyone who wishes to volunteer their time to preparing the pocket park may call the Clarks Summit Borough Building at 570-587-3026 for more information.