Jeanette Blain | News Editor | [email protected]
Photo courtesy of Williamson-Brimley Consulting Group
Local residents flocked to Center Street in Provo, June 20, for a morning of free food, education and fun at the second annual PlayStreet Provo.
Two blocks, between 300 and 500 W, were closed to traffic from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The idea was to encourage people to get outside and explore what downtown has to offer.
Visitors were greeted at the main entrance with an information desk and a booth brimming with raspberry-filled pastries from Hruska’s Kolaches. Activity booths lined the east-bound side of the street leaving the west-bound lane open for walking and biking.
Most activities were geared toward kids and included a puppet show, bouncy houses, science demonstrations and a puppy-petting station.
All food and activities were free thanks to a joint effort between UVU’s Office of New Urban Mechanics and Downtown Provo, Inc.
The ONUM program allows students to help develop civic innovation projects and work with local governments to implement their ideas. It was modeled after ONUM offices in Boston and Philadelphia.
Luke Peterson, the director of ONUM, said the intent for 2015 was to place a heavier emphasis on education and learning.
This year, people were encouraged to engage with science at the UVU’s College of Health and Science booth. Volunteers from the school set-up physics experiments and special telescopes designed for viewing solar flares on the sun.
The Provo Fire and Police departments were also on hand to speak to visitors, and organizations like United Way of Utah County, Timpanogos Storytelling Institute and Provo Library provided games and information about events and services.
Christopher Wiltsie, a recent UVU graduate, was one of the students who helped found PlayStreet Provo last year. Since graduating, he has been working for ONUM as a staff member.
He said it’s a confidence boost to work on projects that fulfill a real need in the community.
“The best thing I have learned from this event is how to manage and work with other people to create a major event in a limited amount of time,” Wiltsie said.
Kellen Pead, political science major, said this is his first year working with ONUM on PlayStreet Provo. A lot of preparation goes into an event of this size, but he said the ONUM team worked well together.
“Participating in PlayStreet Provo has taught me how important it is for people to feel comfortable and enjoy the community they live in,” Pead said.