Hi turkey burgers, and happy Monday!

Last week I talked about Pocket Parks – little unused urban slices that are converted into parks. The reason for the mention was that Albuquerque now had its very first Pocket Park – the ribbon cutting was last Thursday.

It’s so cute, isn’t it? The Frances Tinnin Park. It’s in its infancy – there’s a lot more work to be done, but it’s a great, great start.

This is downtown Albuquerque, on Gold Street between 2nd and 3rd. There had been a building there, originally built in 1906ish, that was demolished earlier this century. Since then, the area, which is small – 25′ wide by 140′ deep – has sat empty and unused.

It’s owned by Bob Tinnin and his sister Nancy Milski. Frances was their Mom. The city approached Tinnin, who lives here in Albuquerque, and explained their idea for a mini park. The brother/sister duo was only too happy to donate the land.

Securing the area was only one step in long process of converting it into park. Turns out, the ones who did the most of the work – including the design and development – were kids.

Before I get to the kids, let me back up a bit. I learned of the park’s ribbon cutting ceremony through my friend Libby, who you might remember from my post about making her birthday present. Through Libs, I know Tinnin, and now through Tinnin, I know his sister Nancy and her husband Danny. Here they all are posing for me:

From left to right, that’s Nancy, Danny, Tinnin, and Libby.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony was kinda a big deal. I thought, anyway. The Downtown Action Team, DAT, has been working on this project for more than a year now, so they were ready to celebrate.

There was a nice turn-out.

They offered scones and coffee from Gold Street Caffe. Which I thought was sweet.

They had a big sign showing the design. It’s to be implemented in stages.

The mayor was there, so it must’ve been a big deal, right?

We were all excited anyway! I had been nervous all morning that I was going to keep calling it a Pita Park instead of a Pocket Park. But I managed to maintain my composure.

And the kids were excited (although most were reluctant to get up in front of the crowd – there was much cajoling). Most or all of these kids have done their time in juvenile detention, and are now back in school trying to figure out how to get their lives on track. They attend the Gordon Bernell Charter School. They’ve been working with the DAT, using resources from the New Mexico MainStreet program, to create “a student-led design studio, which included lectures, design review, permitting, community presentations and the eventual implementation. The park will ultimately feature free WiFi, trash cans, cigarette litter bins and solar powered lighting.”¹

This is Tinnin talking with Joseph, one of the cameramen for KOBtv. I just really liked this picture.

The project has involved more than 100 participants and 30 local businesses. If you think I’m going to list them all here, you’re crazy.

The plants were donated by Heads Up Landscaping, and the kids did the planting. I love that they planted an Ocotillo. When it blooms, it’ll look like this:

Bright orange flowers. Granted, these are fading, but you can still tell how cool they are.

I’m looking forward to watching this park evolve. It’s such an adorable community project.

If you have Pocket Parks springing up in your city, I hope you share them with us. I’ll be back tomorrow, until then, happy gardening!


¹ Quoted directly from the media release.