On Sept. 17 the downtown area of Stevens Point experienced a new way to appreciate the outdoors with the event called Main Street Parks. Instead of using the street space of parking stalls to park a car, Adventure Tours of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point instead built scenes unlike any other with the paved space.
Adventure Tours has been an active organization for 32 years, helping adults take on the wellness group vacation of their dreams. The organization works side-by-side with the Health Promotion and Human Development department of UWSP, in hopes of encouraging a well-rounded happy and healthy lifestyle for active adults.
According to the Adventure Tours website, the group has accomplished outings both internationally and stateside; consisting of educational benefits as well as hiking, biking, birding, exploring and more. If it can be named, odds are the organization has incorporated it in some way.
Although they are not a travel agency, the group is passionate about encouraging a healthy and fulfilling life while becoming globally aware. The organization encourages others to dive into the culture of the world, an aspect brought to Stevens Point by the Main Street Parks 2017.
“I am an advocate for really fun and urban design in a city. Having that background and knowledge of what others are doing around the world helped to inspire something like this.” says program manager, Trevor Roark.
The event consisted of transforming parking spots, into pop-up areas of interesting art and other alternative uses of the space.
A stroll on the sidewalks displayed parking spaces taken up by artists, a living room scene, bike racks and even an interactive life-sized chess game.
In 2012, Eran Ben-Joseph, a professor of urban planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, estimated that there are at least 105 billion parking spaces occupying the United States. The study also proposed that often times not all these spaces are being used every hour of every day. Events such as Main Street Parks 2017 are helping people find an alternative to these unused stalls.
“I am thrilled by different events happening around the world, such as international parking day which helped this event,”Roark said.
Adventure Tours hopes to make Main Street Parks an annual event, with the addition of a few more parking stalls. In the future, they hope to host many other events, including a biking event, however, details and dates are still in the works.