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Moore Square to get millions for makeover

Posted May 6, 2014

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— Efforts to revitalize Moore Square in downtown Raleigh got a boost Tuesday after city leaders agreed to raise millions of dollars needed for the project.

City Council unanimously approved a plan to move forward with a bond sale that would raise the estimated $12.7 million needed to revamp the 4-acre park, which sits across from several restaurants, a bus center and the Marbles Kids Museum. Despite its prime location, the park lacks amenities, except for a few benches, and is often frequented by transients and the homeless.

Plans to give the park a makeover began five years ago but stalled because of a lack of funds.

"I think, after a lot of effort, we can demonstrate Moore Square has vital importance to our city," Councilman Wayne Maiorano said. "There’s a very compelling economic development justification for these improvements as well as a quality of life justification."

Council members did not earmark an exact amount of money for the project and said leftover funds from the bond sale should be used to help other city parks.

“I will support that, however, I’m still concerned about the amount of funds,” Councilman Thomas Crowder said. “I think the tune of $15 million, even $12 million, is problematic. I would like to see us consider about half of that. It’s beyond me why we need to spend so much money to have a first-rate park experience in Moore Square.”

Council members also did not commit to a design plan, although ideas are not in short supply.

Just ask Brian Battistella, who owns an eponymous restaurant that faces the park and the nearby City Market. He said the park needs to be cleaner and more family friendly. An “upscale twist” on the space would also be a positive change, or maybe some regular live music.

“I think we need to give it a try,” he said. “It’s kind of run down."

Battistella pointed to the relocation of the downtown farmer’s market from Moore Square to Fayetteville Street as another reason the park needs a revival.

“If they would put a little effort on this side of town like they did not Fayetteville Street, it would benefit everybody,” he said.

Designs drawn up years ago included restrooms and a cafe, but since the park is state-owned property, the city would have to get clearance to put any buildings on the property.

Residents are invited to offer comment on the bond sale during a public hearing set for 1 p.m. on May 20, in the council chamber at 222 W. Hargett St. The sale would also raise $2.7 million for a new fire station on Fairview Road.
 

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  • Jeff Snavely May 16, 2014
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    Accosted? Do you have a copy of the police report?

    I'm assuming that "accosted" in this case means someone looked at you. Maybe I'm wrong. Doubt it.

  • Jeff Snavely May 16, 2014
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    The little patch of ground that served its purpose wonderfully until Raleigh started diverting the events to other, less appropriate spaces.

    Oh wait... scary brown faces are keeping Herb and Mary Suburb from driving downtown to spend money? So, how is dumping a bunch of money into making the land less usable going to deal with the "scary people"? How is it going to prevent them from soiling their pants at the thought of walking past the bus station?

    You can't fix the real problem you're trying to solve and shouldn't be trying. Even if you did, they'd just go back to complaining about the lack of parking downtown. Maybe you should build another ten decks while you're at it.

  • Arthur Raleigh May 13, 2014
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    The Squares are actually State property and parks. The city should not be using taxpayers money to do anything to them!

  • seth3 May 8, 2014

    $12 million? There's no way this should cost that much! No private company or private citizen would pay that much for this type of work. I guess when you are spending someone else's money, anything goes.

  • A person May 7, 2014

    12 million to replant some grass and replace a few lights??? Which relative of which city council member is getting this contract again

  • Return of... May 7, 2014

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    I worked event security at them and got to meet all the band and hangout with them after at Deep South. The Joan Jett show was the biggest we had to move the barricades to the other side of Hargett to keep everyone in the park. Thats what I meant by the event outgrowing the park. Those were a lot of fun. I miss working them

  • luvstoQ May 7, 2014

    After the costly renovations, will the homeless and transients be allowed to destroy it again?

    It surely wasn't appealing and safe looking the last time I passed by there.

  • Forthe Newssite May 7, 2014
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    “I will support that, however, I’m still concerned about the amount of funds,” Councilman Thomas Crowder said. “I think the tune of $15 million, even $12 million, is problematic. I would like to see us consider about half of that. It’s beyond me why we need to spend so much money to have a first-rate park experience in Moore Square.”

    Well at least SOMEONE has some sense!!! What the heck can cost that much money? That's just beyond crazy in a city with NO MONEY!!!

  • oakcity May 7, 2014

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    then you really have no say in this do you?

  • Obamacare returns again May 7, 2014

    Why don't they move the homeless to the old Dorothea Dix grounds? They might find it more comfortable over there.

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