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Downtown with Cheri Devlin: More attractions coming to MH’s downtown

Published in the April 29 – May 12, 2015 issue of Morgan Hill Life

By Cheri Devlin

Cheri Devlin

Cheri Devlin

Whether it is a retail store front, restaurant or meeting spot, the “pop-up” concept continues to gain traction across the nation, and will be making its way to downtown Morgan Hill.

As part of the goal to activate downtown during the Complete Streets Pilot Project, the city of Morgan Hill in conjunction with local businesses and community volunteers are joining forces to convert the vacant liquor store parking lot on the corner of Monterey Road and Third Street into a community gathering spot called a Pop-up Park in downtown Morgan Hill.

“The Pop-up Park is a ‘lining of the stars’ sort of project,” said Edith Ramirez, principal planner/economic development manager for the city of Morgan Hill. “The impetus for it was the group of community activists that wanted to create a bike hub to compliment the Complete Streets Pilot Project, as well as the need to find a home for many of the Mini Grant Art Projects.”

Recognizing the need to find an appropriate place to showcase some of the Mini Grant Art Projects, the city thought it would be best to take advantage of the vacant liquor store parking lot.

This is a similar concept in other downtown communities throughout California that can turn unused land into a community, family-oriented, fun space.

The Pop-up Park is envisioned to have the following components:

The Bike Hub will include bike racks, a historic bike map, a fix-it station and a drinking fountain.

The bike racks will be donated by Concept Cyclery, a Morgan Hill bike shop. The bike map and fix-it station are mini grant projects. The signage for the bike hub will be done by Empire 7 Studios, an art group based in San Jose.

The park is envisioned to include synthetic turf donated by Morgan Hill-based company, TenCate Advanced Composites and will contain benches, chairs and umbrellas, including the fun propane tank benches designed by Colin Selig, also a mini-grant project.

The city is also exploring erecting an outdoor fitness station area in the park.

The Kids Corner will be behind the parking lot brick wall. It will have a chalkboard running along the inside of the brick wall for children to explore their artistic side.

The chalkboard and chalk will be donated by Smith Commercial. The outside of the wall will utilize the existing planter box and convert it into an urban kids’ library. The outside will have a mural donated by artist Lina Velasquez, which is an exciting new addition that was just recently confirmed.

As you might imagine, there are a lot of moving pieces. But the completion of this project, aimed for the end of May, will be a true testament to community engagement and the power of working together to achieve a common goal.

There are many people and organizations involved in making this happen, but special thanks to city staff, including Edith Ramirez and Chris Ghione; bike enthusiast and Morgan Hill Downtown Association Board Member John K. McKay; and Mitsie Smith, whose company is sponsoring the Kids Corner.

Cheri Devlin is a Morgan Hill resident and president of the Morgan Hill Downtown Association Board of Directors.

Morgan Hill Downtown Association