After seven seasons, Parks and Recreation came to an end in 2015, and while the final episode showed the characters’ futures in a flash-forward, some viewers were left wondering: did Leslie Knope ever get to build her park? Parks and Recreation followed an ambitious, hard-working, and optimistic bureaucrat, Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) who worked in the Parks Department of the fictional town of Pawnee, Indiana.
The first season of Parks & Rec focused on Leslie’s quest to turn a huge pit on Sullivan Street into a park and all the problems that came with that, not only for Leslie but for the rest of the employees of the Parks department and the citizens involved in it. The characters had a lot more to offer than just filling a pit and building a park, and some big life events (like Leslie’s campaign to become city councilor) drew the attention away from the park in the following seasons. But in the end, did Leslie get to build the park she fought so hard for?
Parks and Recreation’s Sullivan Street Pit was filled in season 2, and was then known as Lot 48. Leslie continued working for it to become a park, and in season 5 architect Wreston St. James designed a complete park model with a bit of everything: food trucks from local restaurants, a Li’l Sebastian tribute fountain, and the dog park proposed by April. After a lot of obstacles, mostly due to lack of funds, Leslie got the amount needed to get the project going, and by the end of 2014, Pawnee Commons was finally a reality.
Leslie did get to build the park in Lot 48, but in season 7 she fought for another park, although a much bigger one. Now the Midwest Regional Parks Director, Leslie fought Ron and the tech company Gryzzl for land from the wealthy Newport family. In the end, she got the land and gave Pawnee its National Park. By the end of Parks and Recreation, Leslie had given Pawnee two parks.
Although Parks and Recreation shifted its focus to bigger and more diverse storylines than a pit and a park, Leslie Knope’s continued efforts were not in vain, and while both parks can get lost easily among the rest of the events in the series, the “greatest town in America” got more than just a small park in Lot 48.