Last year, Selah Downtown Association and Tree Top Inc. created a “pop-up” park to show residents how even a dash of green space could improve downtown Selah’s appearance.
On Tuesday, the association won a community partnership award from the Washington State Main Street Program for the park concept. And the Selah association’s executive director said plans are in the works to deploy up to four of the parks around downtown to further promote the vision of what this Upper Valley’s business district could be like.
“Last year, we were showing what could be,” Whitney Stohr said. “This year, since the parks are going to last a long time, we are going to show how these spaces can be transformed permanently.”
The award was presented during the Excellence on Main Awards Ceremony at RevitalizeWA, Washington state’s Preservation and Main Street Conference in Ellensburg. Washington State Main Street Program is managed by the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation.
“Tree Top Park was a seemingly modest installation that yielded significant results, in large part because the (downtown association) embraced the spirit of community engagement and education,” said Breanne Durham, Washington Main Street coordinator. “We applaud the (association’s) partners, local businesses and volunteers who have played such important roles in setting the downtown on a trajectory toward revitalization.”
Stohr said it was exciting for Selah’s relatively young program to win when competing against communities across the state.
The downtown association and Tree Top, a fruit-growers’ cooperative that produces apple juice and other products, created a portable park. Consisting of a couple of trees planted in apple bins, chairs, artificial turf and large umbrellas, Tree Top Park was moved to various locations throughout the city.
This year, the plan is to put three or four small parks at different locations in the city. Unlike the original park, these will stay in their locations through the summer and early fall, and will be sponsored by different businesses or groups, Stohr said.
They will be open from mid-May through October, Stohr said.
Whimsical Details, a business that fashions home decorations and jewelry from cast-off items, is sponsoring one at the Taco Shack, at the corner of East Naches Avenue and Wenas Road.
A member of the downtown association, Whimsical Details owner Tiffany Hein was inspired by Tree Top Park and jumped at the opportunity to sponsor a mini-park herself. She said the program helped motivate business people to improve their surroundings.
“I saw a couple businesses put in outdoor seating after having the parklet on their property,” Hein said.
Her plan is to provide pallets to form a deck, while refinishing picnic tables and making planter boxes to dress up an outdoor eating area.
The association has set a goal of making Selah’s downtown pedestrian friendly by 2025.