About Pocketparks

Pocketparks is a non-profit organization that reimagines and redevelops unused plots of land to provide communities with active and beautiful recreational areas. Through community engagement, each park is designed to meet the specific needs of the neighborhood in which it is located. Every park incorporates three things: activity, artwork, and opportunity. Pocketparks are small, but make a big impact. By focusing on small outdoor parks, we can quickly provide positive impact without extensive resources. Pocketparks not only offers beautiful recreational areas, but works to increase safety, boost community pride, and contribute to economic development. Pocketparks is a platform that reactivates outdoor areas to build up the ecosystem of communities and weave vibrant spaces into our urban fabric.

 

Established in St. Louis in 2021, Pocketparks is working to activate local communities and plans to grow into a network of parks that sprawl across the city and eventually expand to other cities and states. As a non-profit organization, Pocketparks relies on donations to support its efforts.

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“To me, this isn’t as much of a parks project as it is about activating the streets for a more vibrant, dense, urban fabric. Using a human-centric approach, we can elevate the urban experience to one that is safe, beautiful, active, and diverse. We are creating a platform using parks to reactivate the streets and build up the ecosystem of our city.”

 

- Samantha Lee Smugala, President & Founder 

Our Process

Our process starts with identifying opportunities and engaging the community.  All projects are community driven to assure we are creating positive change. We translate feedback into a relevant park design. After construction, we launch the new pocket park as a fully activated space, and continue to maintain the park for the foreseeable future.

Find Opportunities

Engage

Community

Design & Construction

Launch & Activation

Continued Maintenance

 

Our Sponsors

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The Board

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Samantha  Lee

President & Founder

Samantha has a diverse background in marketing, design, and strategy. Her career has led her to work for both small and large firms, with projects ranging from logo design to go-to-market strategies. Samantha has worked across industries in education, healthcare, hospitality, entertainment, and manufacturing. 
Samantha’s mission with Pocketparks is to activate and beautify city streets by reimagining and redeveloping underutilized plots into beautiful recreational areas for the community.

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Aaron Bunse

Vice President

Aaron was born and raised in St. Louis and currently lives in The Grove neighborhood. attended Kansas State University and graduated with a Bachelors of Architecture. Aaron has over 16 years of architectural design and construction management experience in historic rehabilitations, multi-use commercial projects, hospitality projects, and multifamily residential projects. When Aaron isn’t managing his own architecture and design practice he is a freelance photographer. Aaron is also involved in the arts community as a JR board member at CAM for the past 5 years.

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Katie Holtgrave

Treasurer

Katie is financial analyst at Anders CPAs + Advisors. Her focus is business valuations, data analysis, forensic support in fraud, and forensic engagements. As an involved community member, Katie also serves as the President of the St. Louis Startup Ambassadors and the Treasurer of Epworth Children and Family Services. Katie's personal interests have lead her to be an active community member and patron to local restaurants, sporting events, concerts, and more. While committed to bettering St. Louis, Katie also enjoys international travel and exploring new countries, cities, and cultures.

 
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Kelsey Jordan

Secretary

Kelsey Jordan is a designer, activist, and leader who is an experienced architectural design professional, graphic visualization artist, and an interior architect with an emphasis on education and wellness. Her visions for the future of architecture involve strongly embedded ideologies on designing for equity in the built environment. Through research, she have been able to understand how health and wellness can be implemented to cause positive change within communities that face multifaceted issues like obesity, food deserts, poverty, educational obtainment, and systemic racism. As a designer, she utilizes her passion daily to design stimulating future-focused learning environments.

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Amanda Auer

Director

Amanda Auer is the Vice President of Development and works alongside our President & CEO Larry Chapman to execute and expand Seneca’s real estate development pipeline. After 15 years of experience, Amanda has a deep technical and legal understanding of the real estate development process and plays a vital role on the most financially complex projects. Amanda is a licensed attorney and received a Corporate Counsel Award from the St. Louis Business Journal in 2018 and was featured in Vanguard Law Magazine in 2016. Amanda holds a Juris Doctorate from St. Louis University School of Law (2007) and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Missouri, Columbia (2003). Amanda is a member of the Urban Land Institute and serves as a board member and participates on the tax credit working group for the Missouri Growth Association. 

The Team

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Adam Walker

Construction Manager

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Paul Parham

Product Manager

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Vanessa Asaro

Community Engagement

 

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