Kitchener-Waterloo

Gaukel pop-up park a glimpse of what future space could look like

This weekend, a pop-up park on Gaukel Street in downtown Kitchener will work as a pilot to see what a permanent installation could look like in the future. The pop-up park will run Thursday to Sunday.

Pop-up park will offer live music and theatre and serve as a pilot for possible permanent site

Gaukel Street will be transformed into a pop-up park this weekend. The park will act as a pilot project for future planning. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

For the next few days, Gaukel Street in downtown Kitchener will be transformed into a pop-up park that will serve a glimpse of what things could look like in the future.

Starting on Thursday and running until Sunday, the section of Gaukel between Charles Street and Joseph Street will see patio tables, live music and theatre, food and games replace vehicles.

"It's basically turning a roadway into a park and providing more public space for people to enjoy," said Sam Nabi, one of the organizers of the Gaukel pop-up park.

Organizations like the IMPACT19 theatre festival, Neruda Arts and Slumber Party K-W are taking part in the three-day event with free public performances on Satuday.

Pop-up park a pilot project

The Downtown Kitchener Neighbourhood Association and the Victoria Park Neighbourhood Association joined forces to make the pop-up park a reality, Nabi said.

The pop-up received funding from the downtown BIA and will serve as a pilot to see what a possible permanent installation could look like in the future.

"That's really the long term goal with what we're trying to do here," Nabi said.

He adds those who attend will be asked to fill out a survey so that organizers can get a better sense of what the community would like to see in the future.

Construction of a new condo building at the corner of Gaukel Street and Charles Street has had a section of Gaukel closed for months, which has shown city staff like Barry Cronkite, director of transportation services, that a permanent pedestrian space could be viable.

"From a transportation perspective and a circulation perspective, Gaukel Street isn't one of those streets that we would consider a necessary link," he said.

"It gives us an opportunity to re-imagine the space."

But staff are still in the early stages of working with the community and organizers, Cronkite said.

He said staff will be looking at what comes out of this weekend's event to integrate that information into future planning.

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