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State balks at buildings proposed for Moore Square

State officials have put an obstacle in Raleigh's efforts to revamp Moore Square.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — State officials have put an obstacle in Raleigh's efforts to revamp Moore Square.

Bounded by Hargett, Blount, Martin and Person streets in downtown Raleigh, the four-acre square hosts several public events, including the Artsplosure festival, concerts, summer movies and a farmers market. The square wasn't designed as a venue for large events, and the heavy traffic has created maintenance problems and a run-down look.

Raleigh officials held a design contest to encourage ideas for developing a master plan for the site and planned to include new lighting, walls and a water play area. The plans also called for buildings to house concession stands and public restrooms.

Moore Square is owned by the state and managed by Raleigh, and state officials have  come out against having permanent buildings on the square.

Moses Carey, the secretary of the state Department of Administration, wrote in a Feb. 28 letter to Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker that permanent buildings at Moore Square "are outside the city's delegated authority and not in the state's best interest."

Carey said the city has other nearby property that could house the restrooms and concession stands, but he noted that Raleigh Parks & Recreation staff have taken the position that buildings are allowed on Moore Square since state law doesn't specifically prohibit them.

A state representative plans to officially register the state's objections to the redesign plan at a parks advisory board meeting Thursday night and at an April 19 City Council meeting.


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