A new amenity may be on the way for residents of the Knightsville community.
Ward 5 Councilman Chris Paplauskas has announced plans to propose the creation of a “pocket park” on the former highway garage site adjacent to the Knightsville Gazebo.
“Every great city has open space for parks in the middle of the hustle and bustle,” he said. “I’m looking for balance and beautification for an area beloved by so many.”
Paplauskas, a Republican who serves as the council’s majority leader, said he intends to submit a resolution calling on the City Council to begin discussions focused on securing funding for the new park. He will also submit an ordinance amendment that would change the site’s zoning from C-5 commercial to S-1 open space. Both would be considered at the committee level in March.
Pocket parks are small community spaces, typically within developed areas, that are used as recreational spots and gathering places.
An artist’s rendering by Michelle Baron, which Paplauskas provided, shows the site lined with trees. A fountain sits at the intersection of walking paths, which are lined with lamp posts and benches.
Paplauskas said he believes the site in question has been vacant since the early 2000s. In a statement, he said it has been “empty and under-utilized for as long as I can remember.”
“My proposal will serve our community as a new park where we can have arts festivals, meaningful community events and a place to show off Knightsville’s deep heritage and tradition,” the statement reads. “Knightsville is a Cranston destination full of world-class restaurants, small businesses and over a century of celebrating St. Mary’s Feast in July. Building a new park will enhance this already special place for countless future generations to enjoy.”
Paplauskas said his proposal is a “swing for fences kind of thing,” but he hopes to spark a “discussion on what we could possibly do at the property, working collaboratively with the administration, City Council, Parks and Recreation Department and our City Council grant writer.”
“If there is enough support from residents and my colleagues for it to be a park we all can enjoy, then let’s try and make it a reality,” he said.