A parklet is a seasonal use of a parking space designed for the public to relax and enjoy the city. Parklets are a simple and basic idea – use a parking space to create a tiny park (“parklet”) or a space where people can gather in an unexpected place. They can be an extension of sidewalk dining, in a unique way. Parklets can also provide amenities like seating, plantings, gaming (like chess or mini-put), bike parking and public art. Parklets are located in the parking lane adjacent to the curb and should be designed to be an extension of the sidewalk. Advertising and other commercial activities are not permitted in the parklet.

The River District Association (RDA) parklet design guidelines and application document is intended to guide applicants through the process and procedures for applying to install a parklet. It provides a comprehensive overview of the program, policies, procedures, criteria and guidelines for creating parklets on public streets within the River District.

The parklet season has an 8-month term beginning on May 1st and ends on October 31st. River District Association parklet approval and a City of Rockford Right of Way Encroachment permit must be applied for, and issued, every year. The parklet will be maintained by the applicant for the duration of the season. At the end of the season the parklet must be removed and stored for the winter by the applicant before November 1.

Establishments with a valid Business License may apply for a Parklet Permit. Generally, it is recommended that a parklet should be sized to occupy one parking space, and there should be no more than one parklet per block, per side of street. Under special circumstances the RDA will consider additional parklets on a block, or allowing a single parklet length to occupy two contiguous parking spaces. The River District Association will review all parklet application documents and make a recommendation to the City for parklet approval. The applicant must then apply for, and receive, a Right of Way Encroachment Permit from the City of Rockford which will allow for construction of the parklet. Applicants intending to serve food and liquor at a parklet must also apply for a City of Rockford Outdoor Sidewalk Café License.

Download the 2019 RDA PARKLET APPLICATION here.