The owners of the bakery Hewn have launched a Kickstarter campaign to turn a parking space in front of their Dempster Street shop into Evanston’s first parklet.

They’re seeking to raise $14,000 to turn a 20-minute parking space in front of the year-old bakery at 810 Dempster St. into a spot where neighbors could gather and chat — whether or not they happen to have just bought a pastry or coffee from the bakery.

The parking space that could become a parklet (Google Maps image).

The parklet concept has caught on in a number of other cities — especially on the west coast — and Chicago’s first parklet opened in the Andersonville neighborhood in 2012.

Working with the city and local architects at Petrick Architecture, Hewn owners Ellen King and Julie Matthei are hoping to have the parklet installed by mid-July, assuming enough funds are contributed by the Kickstarter deadline of June 25.

Watch their video pitch for the parklet

You can join the Kickstarter campaign here.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. “Parklet”

    This feels a lot like a private business (Hewn) asking the city to give it additional space and begging people to pay for the construction of an outdoor dining space primarily for their company.

    1. City’s idea

      As stated at begining of the video, it was the city that approached Hewn about the possibility of creating the first pilot parklet in Evanston – it's not just a land grad on Hewn's part. 

      I've never seen this concept before but think it would be a nice benefit to all of the businesses and neighbors/customers nearby.  There's a good little group of businesses on the block, some very well-established and some newer ones, as well as a few empty storefronts.  A number of businesses have opened and closed on the block in the 10 years I've lived nearby.  This parklet could help bolster the community feeling of the block, making it a more thought-of destination – helping the existing small businesses succeed and encouraging others to open in the dark spaces.  I just contributed a small amount to the campaign and hope they are able to raise all of the needed funds.

      1. One Space

        It looks like the space would take more than the 1 parking space according to the drawing. What would that cost the city? What would that cost the other businesses in the area? The city might be able to make up the lost income with additional sales tax. The area businesses appears to depend on available street parking.  I think this would require approval of the local businesses.

        It would be interesting to know the identy of the city official that came forward with this proposal to the bakery. Maybe they are a friend of the bakery owners.

    2. What a creative way to make

      What a creative way to make the Dempster neighborhood more fun and neighborly.  Thanks, Hewn, for your efforts!

  2. Now all the homeless people

    Now all the homeless people roaming Chicago Avenue will have a new place to hangout and harass people for money.

  3. Thoughts

    With how expensive everything is at Hewn, you think they could finance this themselves or take a small business loan out.

    what about the hot dog place and Thai restaurants?  Do they not deserve a parklet?

    what about any other restaurant or coffee shop impinged by lack of sidewalk for a gathering place?  Do they get a parklet?

    How about the aldermanic hobby called Ward 8, surprised city never approached them?

    Hewn should have recognized this in their model well before setting up shop west of tracks, which is an interesting location.  Chicago / Dempster is so much more vibrant… And has sidewalk space.

    homeless… Agreed, another spot to pan handle.

    pay for it yourself Hewn, your a business, not a non profit. Act like a business.

    1. It was the city’s idea

      Read the article again. It was the CITY'S idea. If anything, turn your complaint from Hewn to the city in regards to paying for it. Why should Hewn pay for it when it was a city idea?

      Also, for the person concerned about parking; I lived in an apartment on Dempster and walked by this area every day to/from the Purple Line. There are plenty of open spots and taking up one of them for this won't affect anything. Also, there is a plethora of FREE street parking on residential streets around there.

      1. Got That

        Ya, I know to was the city's idea.

        Does anyone know if Hewn has asked the City to pay for this in whole or in part?  I'd be interested to know?

        If I donate to the campaign, does that make me a shareholder in Hewn?  Do I get a bumper sticker at least?

        Look, it is just odd.  City wants it, makes business pay for it.

        Looks like Hewn wants it… So let public pay for it.

        Just odd.


  4. Residential Parklets

    This is a great idea we can be the first City in Country (I don't think this has been done yet) expanding Parklets to our rresidental streets. Gathing places for residents all summer long and not just the annual block party.  Could include picnic table a few BBQ grills,chairs and benches. Let people who the neighbors are. especial on blocks with lots of Multi Family buildings.

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