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Pocketparks receives $10,000 from Downtown St. Louis Community Improvement District

Grant will further the development of the DUC Park

St. Louis, MO (October 27, 2021) – Pocketparks receives a $10,000 grant from the Downtown St. Louis Community Improvement District (CID). Gateway Greening, a nonprofit that educates and empowers people to strengthen their communities through gardening and urban agriculture, will serve as the fiscal sponsor for the project. Pocketparks will use the funds to continue the development of their downtown park, the DUC Park.

“We’re excited to continue our work at this park to elevate the park experience, and therefore the downtown experience,” says Pocketparks Founder, Samantha Lee Smugala.

Since the group has leased the property in May, they have cleaned and maintained the property, held 4 activations, painted a color spectrum mural, and installed doggie waste stations. “We’re really just beginning, and already we’ve seen a huge shift in how people perceive and use the space.” Smugala adds.

The DUC Park, named after its naming sponsor the Downtown Urgent Care, will receive improvements including the extension of the color spectrum mural, the installation of picnic benches, and the implementation of future activations on the property. The most recent activation, called Sunday Stretch, was a free yoga class in collaboration with the Gateway Region YMCA.

“Activation is a large part of what makes a park a vibrant space. The more active the space is, the safer it is, and the more we can influence the walkability of the neighborhood. We try to include great partners like the YMCA to help us activate space whenever possible.”

The CID’s partnership with Pocketparks at the DUC Park is a clear example of their work: improving Downtown St. Louis through supplemental services and collaboration. The CID drives several successful programs, providing daily services to areas within the District, including the street-level Clean Team, hundreds of Summer florals, supplemental security, and Downtown Ambassador Program.

“Pocketparks’ mission to enhance underutilized spaces is exactly the kind of creative thinking that Downtown needs and the CID supports. The planned improvements at the DUC Park directly align with our supplemental services and nicely intertwine – beautifying an area increases the community’s activity in a space, which contributes to increased safety. This is a wonderful addition to the District,” says CID Executive Director, Kelli McCrary.

Pocketparks will begin the improvements on the park as early as November with plans for a Holiday Light display to be installed towards the end of the month.

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, the vacant lots are designed to meet the specific needs of the neighborhoods in which there are located. Each park incorporates three things: activity, artwork, and opportunity. Pocketparks are small, but make a big impact. Focusing on reactivating small outdoor spaces allows Pocketparks to create a quick impact without extensive resources. In addition to offering beautiful recreational areas, Parketparks projects help to increase safety, boost community pride, and contribute to economic development.

Established in St. Louis in 2021, Pocketparks plans to grow into a network of parks that sprawl across the region, and eventually expand to other cities and states. To learn more, visit and follow us on social media.

About The Downtown St. Louis Community Improvement District

The Downtown St. Louis Community Improvement District (CID) is a 180-square block area located within the core of Downtown that was established in 2000 by property owners who were committed to keeping the neighborhood cleaner, safer and more attractive. The CID supplements but does not replace City services. As an independent nonprofit organization, the CID operates as a 501(c)(3). The CID’s mission is to contribute to the overall growth and success of Downtown St. Louis by supplementing City services in safety, maintenance, beautification, and public infrastructure. The CID seeks to enhance the streetscape, creating a more positive experience, for those who visit, work, and live Downtown.


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