After long delay, Moore Square makeover moving forward
Posted April 27, 2015
Raleigh, N.C. — City officials are giving Raleigh residents and business owners a final shot at providing input for a planned revamp of downtown's Moore Square before the $12.5 million project starts next year.
A master plan to redevelop the park on the east side of downtown was completed in 2011, and officials now want to fine-tune the details. Open houses are scheduled for 2 to 4 p.m. Wednesday and 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at neighboring City Market.
"It’s had some abuse over the years. We’re looking to give it a facelift and bring life back to the park," city park planner Grayson Maughan said Monday.
Plans include a proposed water feature facing the nearby Marbles Kids Museum, a natural area where children can play and a larger plaza along the southern edge of the square where a farmers market, concerts and other events could be held.
"You’ll have an open space on the tilted lawn," Maughan said. "It’s fun for children to climb on, to lay out and sunbathe and people watch."
The historic trees in the square will stay, but the future of Raleigh's giant acorn sculpture remains up in the air, he said.
Nearby business owners said Raleigh has neglected Moore Square at their expense.
"It needs attention. It needs a lot of attention," said Rashid Salahat, who owns a sandwich shop in City Market. "It's the only park in the center of downtown and across from the kids' museum, and a lot of people just don't want to sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee there."
Plenty of people passed through Moore Square on Monday afternoon, but very few spent time there.
"Honestly, we don't spend much time outside, so I hadn't really thought about it," said Erin Isgett of Garner, who brings her three children to Marbles every Monday but never stops at the park.
"It’d be nice to have an area where they could play and be safe," Isgett said when she learned of plans to make the square more family-friendly.
Because the state owns the 4-acre park – Raleigh merely manages the property – city officials are still negotiating with state officials on plans to include a cafe and restrooms in the redevelopment project.
Once public input is collected, consultants will present a final plan to the City Council this summer. The square would likely close next year during the makeover and reopen in 2017, Maughan said.