Chattanooga preparing to celebrate Parking Day 2022

City wants to see residents engage with, get creative with public realm

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) — Have you ever wanted to set up an entertainment system, a sofa and a grill on the side of the road while watching college football?

In just under a month, that possibility and so many others can become reality.

Chattanooga’s upcoming Parking Day next will be the first time that residents will really be able to let loose with the event since pre-pandemic times in 2019.

For the festivities, the city is encouraging local participation, outreach, and creativity.

When a parking space sits empty, what else could it possibly be used for?

How about small parks, yoga studios, temporary housing and even mini golf?

Chattanooga has seen all of these “parklets” and more on past Parking Days.

“This is a really good chance for people to show their creativity and to enjoy outdoor spaces during the day,” said Erick Myers, the Exec. Director Chattanooga Design Studio. “It’s a best of [of] what we have in Chattanooga — we’re an outdoor city.”

This will be the twelfth year the Scenic City has participated in the international celebration, which is meant to celebrate the public realm as well as make residents ponder on how their city spaces are being devoted.

“One year, I set up an open mic at a parklet with literally a soapbox and a microphone,” said Marcus Ellsworth, the program manager of the River City Company. “That was a lot of fun just inviting people to step up and share their original thoughts, poems, stories, sing a song. It was pretty good being on the street and having people walk by and engaging with strangers in a really fun way.”

The event is also meant to engage members of the local community.

Myers says Parking Day is just another event that Mayor Tim Kelly believes can help the city further become “One Chattanooga.”

“Our public realm, which is what we continually remind everyone [the] importance about is the spaces between buildings in our cities,” Myers said. “The more we can add quality and people to the public realm, the more city is enlivened and enriched with business opportunities and the opportunity to connect with one another which is so important.”

September 16 is the date to create your parklet off Broad St. near the Aquarium in downtown Chattanooga.

You have until September 2 to apply online.

The best news? Registration is free.

Categories: Chattanooga, Featured, Hamilton County, Local News