Downtown offers new pop-up park every Friday

Ambassador Chuck Padilla and student Alix Prappas participate in the activities offered at the Civic Space pop-up park, offered every Friday through the Downtown Phoenix Partnership and ASU. (Marianna Hauglie/DD)

Civic Space Park is no longer just a pathway students take to get to the gym on Friday afternoons.

The Downtown Phoenix Partnership and ASU are organizing a pop-up park for students and community members to play games and listen to music to help build a community. The activities, which started Aug. 24, run from 1 to 3 p.m. every Friday in the grassy area by the post office. Downtown Phoenix ambassadors provide music, board games, bean bag toss, football and more in the free events.

Similar pop-up parks spring up at CityScape during the week, but the Downtown Phoenix Partnership was eager to host one closer to the ASU Downtown campus, so students can get involved in the community without straying far from campus, said Scott Johnson, Downtown Phoenix ambassador team supervisor.

“Instead of ASU being its own island where students are only connected to the other campuses, we want to build the downtown community around them and keep students downtown,” Johnson said.

Ambassador Chuck Padilla said they would like to add other features to the pop-up park in the future including water guns and the pop-up library — lending books and magazines — that currently only exists at CityScape.

“Having the ASU students involved downtown makes for a better community as a whole because ASU is a big part of the picture,” Padilla said.

The relationship between ASU and the Downtown Phoenix Partnership began when the campus opened. Christopher Callahan, dean of the Cronkite School and vice provost for the Downtown campus, sits on the board of the Downtown Phoenix Partnership and provides a direct link between the two institutions. The ambassadors are often contacted by ASU to assist in tours and other community outreach efforts.

“Embedding ASU into the community is one of (ASU President) Michael Crow’s visions and we always look for ways to improve that,” Cronkite School Outreach Director Liz Smith said.

Two Cronkite School Humphrey Fellows, Deni Donevski of Macedonia and Branko Veselinovic of Serbia, were among the few students who stopped by the pop-up park to toss a football. The two students, who have only been in Phoenix for a month, said they were impressed by ASU’s community immersion.

“Phoenix has a much different community because Serbia does not have enough money to provide services like the ambassadors do. They can have these parks and give directions. They’ve been very helpful,” Veselinovic said.

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