Local News

Raleigh eyes public competition to revamp Moore Square

Posted April 9, 2009 6:26 p.m. EDT
Updated April 9, 2009 7:09 p.m. EDT

— In an effort to spruce up the Moore Square area, city officials are considering holding an open competition to solicit design ideas.

"What you really want to do is redesign it in a way so that event producers can do something there. You can have families feel comfortable sitting there. You've really got to look at redesigning it," said David Diaz, president of the Downtown Raleigh Alliance.

The designs can build on Marbles Kids Museum and the City Market retail complex, which flank the four-acre park on the east side of downtown, Diaz said.

"It's got so much potential," he said. "It's got what designers called good bones."

Raleigh Planning Director Mitchell Silver said Moore Square is one of the most used areas downtown, hosting fairs and other events. Because the state owns the land – the city maintains it – state officials would have to sign off on any changes.

Arpan Makam, owner of Metro Cafe in City Market, called the area "a hidden gem."

"If we changed some of the parking things, maybe relocate the (homeless) shelter to a different area, these are things, I think, would help redevelop Moore Square," Makam said.

Stella Crawford, who was walking through the park with her granddaughter after visiting Marbles, said more children's activities are needed.

"(We need) anything that would bring more tourism here and have more things for children, because children are going to need somewhere to go," Crawford said.

The City Council is expected to discuss whether to solicit redesign ideas from the public at its next meeting.

City Manager Russell Allen said a competition could be the first step to a master plan for the park that could be incorporated into Raleigh's capital-improvement budget.