Local nonprofit, Bike & Walk Montclair will hold the opening and ribbon cutting ceremony for the new community space dubbed, “Porch on Walnut” Saturday, Sept. 15, at noon. Montclair Mayor Robert Jackson will officiate.

The new, seasonal public space, also called a, “parklet,” was constructed last weekend in front of Walnut Street restaurants Corso 98 and Red Eye Cafe with the help of a host of volunteers and local businesses. Two parking spaces have been transformed into a beautiful neighborhood gathering spot, complete with seating, planters, pergola and bike rack. A project of the non-profit advocacy group, Bike & Walk Montclair, the wooden structure is designed to encourage community building and interaction.

“The ‘Porch on Walnut’ is a great example of what we call place-making. The whole project was designed to bring people together, first in the collaborative process of imagining and building the space, in the design which encourages people to stop and connect with other members of the community and finally in the ways we will use it, as a focus for neighborhood interaction,” said John Sullivan, Vice President of Bike & Walk Montclair, and lead organizer of the Porch on Walnut Street.
Parklets first appeared in Montclair two years ago on Glen Ridge Avenue in a pilot program funded by the Montclair Center BID and Bike & Walk Montclair. Last May, the Montclair Town Council unanimously passed a resolution to permit the construction of two seasonal parklets, one downtown sponsored by the BID and one sponsored by Bike & Walk Montclair on Walnut St.

Multiple businesses partners, community groups and volunteers pitched in with generous donations and in-kind support to bring the parklet to life including Mulvey Custom Construction LLC, The Northeast Earth Coalition, Madlab LLC, West Essex Building Supply, Corso 98 and Red Eye Cafe.

The Porch on Walnut St will host a variety of art and music events throughout

"The Porch on Walnut St is a community-building project that reclaims a small piece of street pavement to create a public space open to everyone. It invites us to connect with our neighbors and build the personal ties and spirit that make Montclair such a unique and wonderful town. Bike & Walk Montclair is excited to be able to bring this to our community. It's a great example of what can happen when we re-imagine our streetscapes as public places for people," said Debra Kagan, President Bike & Walk Montclair.