After months of planning and construction, The Rock Lot opened on August 30th, 2017. The space is the first implementation of the Vacant to Vibrant project, which seeks to remake vacant lots in the Creative District. The Rock Lot is located at 305 W. 8th St. and was previously a vacant lot filled with large rocks, which is how it got its name.
It features a grass lawn and outdoor seating for community events. The space will be open to the public every day from dawn until dusk. Rock Lot was designed by the Groundswell Design Group, known for developing spaces such as the Spruce Street Harbor Park in Philadelphia and The Creamery in Kennett Square, Pa.
“We will use this space as a catalyst for continuing the positive change the Creative District has seen over the last two years,” said Laura Semmelroth, Creative District strategist. “The Rock Lot is first and foremost a community space and we will listen to the community as we begin to develop programming there just as we have listened to the community while developing the Vacant to Vibrant project.”
The community planning process for the Rock Lot began in January 2017 and actual construction of the site began in June 2017. Weekly programming began in September 2017.
“I’m particularly thrilled to see the work done at this park and that it has been done so well,” said Attorney General Matt Denn. “This is important in a vacuum but it is also important in terms of showing what can be done moving forward.”
The seats and benches at the Rock Lot were designed and constructed by The Challenge Program, the Wilmington-based nonprofit which works to empower Delaware’s at-risk youth by teaching them vocational skills.
Development and construction of the Rock Lot was possible thanks to the National Endowment for the Arts, the Delaware State Legislature, the Delaware Department of Justice, the Delaware Economic Development Office and Nemours.
“Looking forward I know that there will be other new locations for murals and we were all be working together as a team,” said Sen. Robert Marshall (D-Wilmington). “I look forward to the day when you can drive by here and you see all the neighbors and the families bring their children here and have the opportunity to interact and the more of this kind of work we do in Wilmington and around the better.”