From Vacant to Vibrant – Rock Lot Opens

Wilmington Mayor and others drizzle the last rocks in the Rock Lot, a new green space in Wilmington

With the ceremonial placing of the final rocks by Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki and others, the #RockLot is officially open!  The Rock Lot is a revitalized community green space in the Creative District, which opened August 30th.

Before construction began the space was just an empty lot filled with lots of big rocks. The Rock Lot was the nickname for the space when development began, and the name stuck.

The ‘pocket park,’ located near 8th and Tatnall Streets in Wilmington, is not an official City park but rather is operated by Creative District Wilmington.

The community enjoys new green space near 8th and Tatnall Streets

Rock Lot represents the first implementation of the organization’s Vacant to Vibrant project, which seeks to remake vacant lots in the Creative District. It is their hope that Rock Lot and the future spaces will become community-driven hubs for neighborhood events and programming.

The park features a grass lawn and outdoor seating for community events and will be open to the public every day from dawn until dusk. Rock Lot was designed by the Groundswell Design Group. They are known for designing such spaces as the Spruce Street Harbor Park in Philadelphia and The Creamery in Kennett Square.

The Challenge Program used pieces from old buildings to make benches and planters

The seats and benches at the Rock Lot were designed and constructed by The Challenge Program, the Wilmington-based nonprofit which works to empower Delaware’s at-risk youth by teaching them vocational skills. The furniture and the planters have a reclaimed look and in fact were made from pieces of old buildings that have since been renovated.

The morning’s dedication was followed by a block party in the evening, which was filled with music, games and lots of young families who enjoyed the space for the first time.

The Rock Lot at dusk

Weekly programming at the Rock Lot will begin this month. The SsAM Drumming Circle, from the Episcopal Church of Saints Andrew and Matthew will host regular sessions at the space every Tuesday. 8th Avenue Collective Group, based out of the Creative District, will run game nights, yoga and “Art in the Park” events.

Development and construction of the Rock Lot was made possible by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Delaware State Legislature, the Delaware Department of Justice, the Delaware Economic Development Office and Nemours.

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