November 3, 2006
Charlotte, NC - Mecklenburg County Manager Harry L. Jones Sr. believes the public is ready for a park in Third Ward - and the County is ready to build it. On Friday, November 3, he introduced a proposal to move forward with construction.
Most of the conceptual design work for the new urban park is complete and funding was approved by voters in a 2004 parks bond referendum. The five acre Third Ward park would be bound by Second, Third, Church and Mint Streets, with an eventual promenade to Tryon Street. Jones believes that this urban park will provide a safe and well-managed amenity for the entire community, as well as a venue for uptown festivals and other events.
The critical component of the County Manager's proposal is a land transfer from the City of Charlotte to Mecklenburg County. This proposal is different from the one first envisioned by Charlotte Center City Partners because County-owned land targeted for a new AAA baseball park would not be part of a land swap. Properties transferred to the County would include Marshall Park, Spirit Square, and some additional City-owned acreage in Third Ward. In exchange, the County would offer its ownership interest in the new cultural arts facilities to the City and provide the public infrastructure in Second and Third Wards.
"This proposal presents a simpler process for the land transactions and allows us to proceed with building the park," said County Manager Harry Jones. "It allows for our continued partnership with the City of Charlotte, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and the private sector on future redevelopment in Second and Third Wards." A recent report by UNC Charlotte economics professor Dr. John Connaughton concluded that a park, baseball stadium and redevelopment in Second and Third Wards would generate an annual economic impact of $750 million.
Jones' full proposal is detailed in a letter to Charlotte City Manager Pam Syfert (attached). The letter has been delivered to members of the Board of County Commissioners and the Charlotte City Council. In order to move forward, Jones is asking the City for an indication of interest in this proposal. He will also discuss the proposal with the Board of County Commissioners during its November 8 meeting.
The full text of the proposal is available