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A taco from CocoRays, one of the others.
A taco from CocoRays, one of the others.handout

If Leslie Knope of “Parks and Recreation” taught us anything from her fictional post in the Pawnee government, it’s that parks are important and build community. So it is likely she would approve the City of Lawrence’s new downtown food truck park.

It came about when the city acquired the tract of land after a building was torn down and decided to turn it into something that would benefit the community. The official opening is June 25 at 5 p.m. The space will house five local food trucks: CocoRays, a Mexican taqueria; Meanie Panini, serving sandwiches out of an old school bus; Grande’s Chimis, Latin-inspired cuisine; Spice Venture, Asian and international foods; and Food Train, making artisanal panini.

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According to the city’s business development director, Abel Vargas, who is spearheading the project, the city hopes to grow the number of participating businesses. “We’ve gotten a lot of positive response,” he says. The park, at 372 Essex St., will be open Wednesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. through the summer. The city is currently funding costs associated with the launch, but Vargas says, “We hope to get more backing through grants and programming.” The space can be rented for events and gatherings, offering an active, communal space in the heart of downtown.

BETHANY GRABER