Photo Credit: Bridge of Grace Compassionate Ministries Center
Fort Wayne, Indiana
At the Tired-a-Lot Studio, low-cost, upcycled materials like pallets and tires transform vacant lots into pocket parks. The design/build team, unusually, is comprised of local teens who want to make a difference in the Mount Vernon Park (MVP) neighborhood of Fort Wayne, Indiana.
In 2017, Bridge of Grace Compassionate Ministries Center (BGCMC) launched Tired-a-Lot Studios to address neighbors’ desires for beautification and social offerings, creative outlets for a growing student population, and remediation of a large number of overgrown green vacant parcels.
Tired-a-Lot Studies was a series of summer and spring break camps that convened 16 campers and 140+ volunteers and community residents to activate three vacant lots and create two murals. The three new pocket parks on formerly vacant lots are Unity Park, a playground; The Harbor, a performing arts space; and The Yard, a community lounge space. The intention of the project was to implment low-cost, replicable solutions for address the vacant lots. The total cost of each park averaged less than $4,000. The total costs for the Tired-a-Lot Studios, which consisted of two rounds of Summer Camp, one round of Spring Break Camp, and installation of three vacant lot installations and one mural was $96,000.
BGCMC works to promote youth leadership development through civic engagement. In that spirit, Tired-a-Lot Studio invited campers to return to the second Summer Studio as junior counselors and testify about their work at Fort Wayne Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) hearings. Campers have also shared their insights on the park projects at the Nontraditional Employment for Women Workshop and the Regional Neighborhood Network Conference, which convened leaders from five states.
Property Type: Residential Lot (no structure)
Project Type/ New Use: Carpentry
Project Purpose: Community engagement, youth programming, increase safety
Initial Cost: $50,000-$100,000
Funding Source: Philanthropic funding, individual support
Organization Type: Non-profit - Other
Implementation Partners: Local government, faith institutions
City: Fort Wayne
Community Type: Urban
Project Website: Tiredalot.org >
Organization website: bridgeofgracecmc.org >
Press: Teens answer Mount Vernon Park's call for community revitalization >