THE CITY OF DURAND completed the installation of a new public people spot, located at the intersection of Clinton and N. Saginaw streets in downtown Durand. “People spots,” or “parklets,” are typically constructed in the public right-of-way along a commercial district and feature open seating and green space. The outdoor space is open to all visitors and subject to the same use as a public park.
The Durand People Spot is a relatively unique feature in Shiawassee County, but other communities such as Grand Rapids, Detroit, and Lansing have all experimented with temporary and seasonal parklets. As part of the ongoing place making efforts, city of Durand Mayor Deb Doyle notes, “We all succeed when our downtown district thrives. The new parklet is our way of making downtown more people friendly. Take your pizza there, enjoy a morning coffee, or just hang out with friends.”
The goal of the parklet is to encourage increased economic activity, positive loitering, and walkability in Durand’s downtown district. A 2014 study by the Metropolitan Planning Council found that 80 percent of businesses found that people spots brought more foot traffic and customers. Additionally, 34 percent of visitors to people spots made unplanned purchases. City staff welcome feedback from area businesses and residents regarding the use of the people spot.
The project was designed by Durand City Council member Jeff Brands of Creekwood Architecture, and was completed with the help of local volunteers, city staff, and council members. A local business, Stomping Grounds Coffee Shop, will maintain the planters in the people spot and provide access to its fire pit during business hours throughout the summer and fall. Open now through early November, the people spot will be removed during the winter months and reinstalled in the spring.