“Brendan, do you know what’s happening with that park under the 408 in Parramore? It kind of disappeared.”– BUNGALOWER READER
Well, Checker Park is indeed closed at the moment, and in a way, it has disappeared.
The “park,” which is located at 619 S. Parramore Avenue [GMap], consisted of a series of permanently placed checkers tables under a 408 overpass in the Parramore neighborhood. The City of Orlando helped to make the area an official park when local residents were found enjoying the shade of the overpass rather than walking up the street to the newly constructed ZL Riley Park, which was noticeably warmer and more exposed to the sun.
We first wrote about the closure of the park HERE in August 2020 when the City of Orlando told us that it was being temporarily closed to allow for work on the overpass by the Florida Department of Transportation. Since then, the seating and the tables have been removed and the entire area has been fenced off to keep people from using the space.
According to our contacts at the Central Florida Expressway, the construction on the overpass is still being completed and they plan to redo Checkers Park after they’ve completed the planned SR 408/Tampa Avenue interchange improvements, which are still in the design stages and a couple of years away from construction being completed.
The only thing is, as you can see in the rendering below, once the work is completed, the park will be relocated out from under the overpass and pushed into a new pocket park that is open to the elements, save for some palm trees.
In my humble opinion, Checker Park was reminiscent of some of the more civically-informed gathering spaces in Harlem and served as a great example of how municipal policies can and should follow how residents are making use of their own neighborhoods, and enact policies to enhance and strengthen those uses with public dollars.
Do you have something you want us to look into for you? Send your question to [email protected] and we’ll check it out!