The Washington State Main Street Program is helping activate new public spaces for community use across Washington State!

The WSMSP launched a new Place Activation Initiative in early 2021, in partnership with the National Main Street Center and consulting firm Terra Soma. Through the initiative, the WSMSP has provided place activation training to the 66 members of its statewide network, as well as awarding four grants through a competitive application process to local Main Street organizations striving to implement place activation projects in their own communities. Activating public spaces has been a critical strategy in supporting small businesses and communities throughout the pandemic. In 2020, Main Street Communities collectively activated 342,672 square feet of public space and spent $743,652 on design enhancements to benefit small businesses.

“The design of public spaces, including streets, directly impacts the economic vitality and quality of life in our communities,” says Breanne Durham, Washington Main Street Director with the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation. “We believe that pedestrian-focused activation of public spaces is a key strategy for resilient and healthy downtown districts.”

The four Washington Main Street Communities awarded place activation grants are Centralia, Colville, Kennewick, and Prosser.


Centralia

In Centralia, the Centralia Downtown Association is transforming a one-block section of East Pine Street to create the Pine Street Plaza. The plaza will serve as a gathering place for locals, an outdoor seating area to support nearby restaurants, and as a welcoming point of entry for visitors exploring Centralia from the historic 1912 Train Depot. Plans for the plaza were partly spurred by community interest in reviving a downtown farmer’s market and a place to hold local events—both potential future uses of the plaza area. The plaza will be installed in June and remain open through October 31.

Read the Showcase Magazine article.
Read the Centralia Chronicle article.


Colville

Across the state in Stevens County, Colville Together is creating parklets across its historic downtown, converting curbside parking spaces into vibrant community spaces. The parklets will provide additional public spaces during the upcoming construction at Astor and Main Streets, while supporting downtown businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery. By transforming two curbside parking spaces into outdoor seating areas, the parklets will help businesses navigate indoor capacity limitations while creating welcoming public spaces for residents and visitors alike. The parklets will be installed in June and remain in use through October.

Read the Colville Together blog post.


Kennewick

In Kennewick, the Historic Downtown Kennewick Partnership is transforming a centrally located parking lot at the intersection of Benton Street and Kennewick Avenue into Flag Plaza. The parking lot currently hosts the local farmers’ market and many of the HDKP’s annual events; grant funding will allow for the expansion of the farmers’ market and the creation of a dedicated public space for outdoor dining, public events, performances, and other community uses. Flag Plaza will open in June and remain in use throughout the summer and beyond.

Read the Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business article.
Read the Historic Downtown Kennewick Partnership blog post.


Prosser

In Benton County, Historic Downtown Prosser and the Prosser Chamber of Commerce are activating four blocks of their downtown core, which will be closed to traffic to become public space for pedestrian traffic, outdoor dining, and events through the summer season.