Oh my gosh! I feel like I just got the best Christmas present ever. It is a free publication from AARP called “The Pop-Up Placemaking Tool Kit”. While I have a bit of talent for improving blighted areas and engaging the community, I’m always open to new ideas. This booklet is chock full of them.
But before I share these creative pop-up concepts, I should remind readers that the process is never just about beautification. Pop-up projects are known as “tactical urbanism,” “do-it-yourself urbanism”, or “better block.” The goal is to involve community members working together to bring improvement to overlooked spaces, address neighborhood problems, or demonstrate desired projects within public or private spaces such as vacant buildings, alleyways, or underused lots.
AARP states that by “seeing and doing, local leaders and residents together can propel positive community change.” After all, improvement is possible when a proposed enhancement is better understood and supported by the entire community.
To that end, 40 people came out about two weeks ago to spruce up neighboring lots to our Wekiwa Springs mural. It is being painted at the intersection of Votaw and Thompson roads. Artist Delia Miller has been painting for several weeks. Children from Clay Springs Elementary also assisted by painting the base coat for the lower portion of the mural. Many of you may not be aware of what the final mural scene will depict. It is a secret except to those who are members of the People of Wekiwa Springs, one of the District 2 neighborhood groups I formed.
Now, back to AARP and the fabulous pop-up ideas. Pop-ups can be used for traffic calming, connectivity, enhancing public spaces, and offering unique one-time programming. Reasons to create pop-ups include testing new ideas, encouraging community involvement, making a case for public support of the arts or unique programming, strengthening a local economy, reinvention and growth, and inspiring change.
I pray for change down Votaw and Thompson roadways. I believe Thompson Road could be the Markham Woods of Apopka if folks would trim their beautiful oaks upward. Votaw Road could be a safe, charming route to the City of Apopka. We can always be better on any corridor. It just takes a little love and attention.
Implementing any of these awesome ideas would be nearly impossible without being part of a team. Join a civic group such as Rotary, Sertoma, PTA, your HOA, or even one of my neighborhood leaders’ groups. I have active groups in Lockhart, Wekiwa Springs, North Pine Hills, and Southern Apopka. Everything is possible if you are an active member of a supportive team! Call my office to join at 407.836.5850.
Finally, I hope you pencil in your calendar for the Wekiwa Springs Mural Dedication date. It is Saturday, April 1st.
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That artist lady, Delia Miller, is very talented, and is a treasure to our area. Amazing, what she creates with paint, and the potential she possesses! I have been watching the mural come to life, as more detail is worked in, which makes it pop visually. It has been so cold, off and on, and I have watched her out there painting away, as we drive by. Great job, Delia!
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