When I embarked on the journey of preparing the Wrexham City Centre Placemaking Plan, little did I know that I would be contemplating the inclusion of Hollywood A-listers in the “responsibility” column of our action plan. In hindsight, what a missed an opportunity.
But fast forward to this week, and we witnessed the unveil of “The Ryan Rodney Reynolds Memorial Park,” yet another addition to the ever-growing influence that Hollywood stars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney are having on regenerating Wrexham.
It’s fair to say the announcement was a surprise, even for the local authority, and it’s just a headline grabbing ‘novelty’; but may be its much more than that? Clearly the vision has urbanism at its heart, it demonstrates the potential of pop-up placemaking (with Hollywood clout), designed to transform an urban landscape, test creative ideas, and, possibly pressurise local authorities into making changes more permanent.
Just a few years ago, the Hippodrome site stood as a sombre reminder of neglect and decay right in the heart of the city. Wrexham Council took a bold step, acquiring the site to eliminate this eyesore and open the doors to a greener urban space. In the Placemaking Plan, we envisioned a flexible public space that would revitalise the ‘market quarter.’
The Plan called for a flexible, family-oriented space that would encourage playfulness, showcase artwork, introduce street food, and host an array of pop-up activities.
And now, with the grand unveiling of “The Ryan Rodney Reynolds Memorial Park,” the stars have aligned perfectly. This new public outdoor space echoes our very vision for the Hippodrome. Their website paints a picture of a place where culture thrives, communities come together, and creativity flourishes.
You can check out Rob and Ryan’s ideas on their website and even support the funding for the vision by grabbing a piece of their merchandise – link Parks and Wrex