Council Members Blong Yang, Jacob Frey and Lisa Bender marked the debut of the city's first portable parks at 2007 Emerson Ave. N., one of three of the "parklet" locations.

Council Members Blong Yang, Jacob Frey and Lisa Bender marked the debut of the city's first portable parks at 2007 Emerson Ave. N., one of three of the "parklet" locations.

Prime parking spots outside a handful of Minneapolis business have been transformed into tiny, portable public parks -- complete with tables, chairs and plants.

The city's first three "parklets" made their official debut Tuesday, as three council members checked out purple tables and chairs parked in front of Juxtaposition Arts and Urban Homeworks at 2007 Emerson Ave. N. 

Council Member Lisa Bender said the city's goal is to create places along commercial stretches where people feel comfortable gathering and chatting with their neighbors. The spaces are hosted by businesses, but open to the public. Other cities, including San Francisco and New York, have installed dozens of them. 

"Parklets are a really simple, but extraordinary way to transform public space," Bender said. 

Minneapolis' other parklets are located at 212 Third Ave. N., hosted by Martin Patrick 3 and Transwestern, at the Colonial Warehouse, and at 2451 Nicollet Ave. S., in front of Spyhouse Coffee. They'll remain on the streets through October, packed up for winter, and reassembled in the spring.