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The City of Shamokin and Shamokin-based organizations are actively engaged in a range of projects and initiatives that both spur community engagement and further revitalization efforts. Two such examples are the continued improvements to Claude Kehler Community Park and the newly opened Illumination Station on Independence Street. The Shamokin Community Gardens and Pocket Parks group, formed in 2020, is one group that captures the growing community interest in increasing green space and parks within the City. The need for green space is important, as such assets provide an outlet for residents to rest, increase social interactions among community members, and reduce stress. Not only do parks improve the well-being of the general community, but they also aid the landscape by incorporating plants and other types of biodiversity that enhances the environment. One way to include these spaces is through the reclamation of vacant lots.

Shamokin has numerous abandoned lots and buildings, but a notable one lies on Sunbury Street. The current property stands as a small garden with picnic tables and a few raised beds for planting. Shamokin Community Gardens is working to improve the space as well as other vacant lots and convert them into neighborhood assets, with community input. These spaces are underutilized and offer potential for revitalization. By reclaiming these lots, the City can turn them into beneficial spaces for the entire community to enjoy.

Through community outreach and engagement, it is possible to design neighborhood parks that can become a neighborhood asset for all to enjoy. Building on this momentum, a survey and interactive community feedback activity were conducted to begin the process of understanding community preferences with amenities and design for a number of potential neighborhood park locations in the City. The results show that there is community interest in developing lots as neighborhood assets, and that families with young children and households without children do have different preferences as to design and amenities.

The research for this report was funded by the Bucknell Center for Sustainability & the Environment and a Mellon Foundation Confounding Problems and the Public Humanities and the Arts grant through the Bucknell Humanities Center.


green space, urban planning, parks, pocket parks


Ⓒ 2023. Bucknell Center for Sustainability & the Environment


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Coal Region Field Station