It’s About Place Update: Scripps Park (formerly Canfield) Social Yard

There have been a lot of developments with the It’s About Place winner, the Canfield Social Yard, most importantly a location and corresponding name change. After originally planning to build their stage and public space on Canfield street in Detroit’s Woodbridge neighborhood, organizers heeded nearby resident concerns about noise and traffic and moved the project to a lot on Forest Avenue, a few blocks away. Upon hearing of the move to Forest, a neighbor contacted organizers and explained his plans to buy the lot to use for parking at his adjacent building. After considerable time meeting with community groups and keeping with the original plan of a prominent, high traffic location, organizers decided on Scripps Park, just down the street from the original Canfield site.

Like many Detroit parks, Scripps fell into disrepair after the city cut funding for park maintenance. However, local groups saw incredible potential in the park, and have worked diligently to keep it clean and maintained. Organizers of the Social Yard met with many of these groups, including Friends of Scripps Park, Scripps Park Sensory Garden Project, the Woodbridge Neighborhood Development Corporation, the Detroit Recreation Department and the Douglass Branch for Special Services of the Detroit Public Library, which is adjacent to the park. These organizations are pushing for the park to become a central community gathering space and see the Social Yard as a great way to further this goal.

Recently, with the help of the Scripps Sensory Garden Project, organizers were able to hold a community meeting with regular users of the park to get their feedback and integrate those ideas with the design and vision of the Social Yard. They hope to execute the project by late October.

Great job to the Scripps Park Social Yard for all the hard work they have put in so far, and for assuring their project vision includes feedback from the community. The success of placemaking projects can only really be judged by how the greater community perceives and benefits from it–and thorough community engagement is the best way to make sure a placemaking project meets the needs of its most likely users.. Organizers at the Scripps Park Social Yard have gone to great lengths to assure community buy in. We can’t wait to see the results.