Petaluma's Creative Reopening Parklet Project

Petaluma Parklets Transform Curbside Seating

When the pandemic shutdown Petaluma’s restaurants, those with no dedicated outdoor space wondered what to do.

The city quickly launched its “Free Range” program, allowing restaurants to take over public spaces like side walks and parking spots as long as Americans with Disabilities Act rules are followed. Around town, bright orange barriers popped up seemingly overnight — sectioning off little eating areas with at least 6-feet of space between tables. When the wet weather set in, the city worked with many of the restaurnts to get them weatherized with a budget of over $250,000

for tents to keep parklet diners dry.

An opportunity arose ro apply for The Creative Sonoma Reopening Grant, a division of Sonoma County's Ecconomic Development Board. The Petaluma Downtown Association applied for the grant and partnered with the Petaluma Arts Center to identify the downtown locations and apply for the $30,000 grant and to work with local artists to create four artistic parklets that would support 6 local businesses. Changing their no-frills tables-on-sidewalks experience to inviting four parklike spaces, called parklets, enhanced with artistic flair. The beautification is a result of extensive collaboration between non-profits, the County, the City, artists and local businesses.


“The response from the community to being able to enjoy outdoor dining again has been incredibly enthusiastic creating the parklets has been a way to engage artists in the reopening process. This is a hugely collaborative project, and we are very grateful to PAC board president Drake Cunningham and PAC board member Cinda Gilliland owner of reedgilliand for their ongoing pro bono work providing design, and project management in taking the parklets from vision to reality.


Customers are already enjoying the new ambiance that the parklet provides at Stockhome Restaurant and its Western Street neighbor, the Bagel Mill. Designed and fabricated by artists Nicki Adani and Zoe Frey, the wood and steel structures that partition the dining area from the street give an industrial chic vibe to the space. Materials were donated by Friedman’s Home Improvement and structural design support from Summit Engineering Company.


The next parklet in the final planning stages is Mi Pueblo El Centro on Kentucky Street. Petaluma native and business owner Kevin Clark, known for his dramatic and majestic Burning Man sculptures, is designing the Mi Pueblo parklet as well as the one in front of his full-service hair salon The Shop Petaluma, also on Kentucky Street.


The fourth parklet making its way through the City’s approval process will be installed at Ray’s Deli and next-door neighbor Fassbinder Gallery on Western Avenue. Painter and sculptor Eli Slaydon, known for numerous large-scale installations in New York, is designing and installing the parklet.

Petaluma Parklet Sponsors - Thank you!