Home > Parks and Recreation, The Playground, Visual Stimulus > Park Portrait: the city’s urban pocket park

Park Portrait: the city’s urban pocket park

Park Portrait: The Jay P. Smith Walkway

Traverse City’s only genuine pocket park is The Jay P. Smith Walkway, which was renovated in 2006 with improved landscaping, a drinking fountain, street furniture and a “Grandfathers Fountain” seen above with a bit of a bubble issue. Typically, this is used as a walkway or a casual place to sit and people watch. The bubble scene happened sometime last Sunday morning during the Film Festival. The  young Tanner didn’t seemed to mind and ended up negotiating with his mother for more time. Fun all around, although the city employee who volunteers to clean up the park almost every morning had a bigger than usually job (thanks D.W., the kiddos did have fun).


The walkway was established in 1965 by the city commission and named in honor of Jay P. Smith for his leadership in community, which included work with Cherry Festival. In 2006, through city staff and resident volunteer hours, the renovations were completed. Record Eagle writer/editor Loraine Anderson wrote about about Smith and his ties to the community, and the connection to a broader history and sense of place in a short column in 2008. In it, she list those involved with raising money for the walkway.

In 2005, the city decided to rehab the walkway with new landscaping, a “Grandfathers Fountain” with donations from former Mayor Linda Smyka and Socks Construction, as well as new benches and tables bought with money from the families of the late Robert J. Brick Sr., Jackson Bensley, John W. Rennie and Mary Lou Cain. The city also received a donation from the Girrbach family, which includes Pangea Pizza owner Chris Girrbach.

The park is an example of one of the most used intentional public spaces in the city. Below, the fountain can be seen below sans-bubbles and the walkway on a typical summer day being used as any great public space. Follow the link for more images of the bubble scenes.


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