June 13, 2007
With the push of a lever, the lurch of a crane and applause from the crowd, a chunk of concrete rose into the air, uncovering the creek that has been imprisoned for forty years. That was the scene at the ceremonial uncapping of the Little Sugar Creek in the old Midtown Square area.
The uncapping was part of a event promoting creek restoration and the
Little Sugar Creek Greenway project. Four decades ago, portions of the creek were capped and paved over for parking and business development. The uncapping took place along the creek near the intersection of Kings Drive and Baxter Street.
Speakers included Jennifer Roberts, Chairman of the Mecklenburg
Board of County Commissioners; Jim Garges, Director of Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation; and Dave Canaan, Director of Mecklenburg County Water & Land Resources. Participants in the ceremony received commemorative pieces of concrete, symbolizing a new era for the creek and its new greenway.
This project section will stretch 1.5 miles between Seventh and Morehead Streets. It will be part of the Little Sugar Creek Greenway, which will eventually run for more than 16 miles between the Hidden Valley neighborhood in north Charlotte and the South Carolina border.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services will also restore more than 6,000 feet of the Little Sugar Creek between Seventh and Morehead Streets. More than half of this stretch was "capped" by streets and parking lots, and the stream banks lined with concrete. The uncapping allows
Storm Water Services to restore the channel, stream bed, creek banks, and natural beauty of the creek. Vegetated buffers and small wetlands will be added along the banks to filter pollutants from storm water runoff.
The Little Sugar Creek Restoration
will provide for improved water quality and a better habitat for aquatic and wildlife.
This section will include an urban park suitable for festivals, a large fountain, a tree-lined avenue and plazas lined with shops, restaurants, and condominium projects. One such project is "The Metropolitan," now under construction by Pappas Properties on the site of the old Midtown Square Shopping Mall (the original Charlottetown Mall). Stream restoration and greenway construction from Seventh Street to Morehead Street is anticipated to be completed by the end of 2009. Total cost of public participation is estimated at $43 million, mainly from voter-approved bonds, local storm water fees and state grants.
Also involved in this project: Mecklenburg County Land Use and Environmental Services Agency, Mecklenburg County Real Estate Services, Central Piedmont Community College, Duke Energy, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, N.C. Department of Transportation, N.C. Department of Transportation, N.C. Department of Natural Resources, N.C. Clean Water Management Trust Fund, Charlotte Department of Transportation, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Commission, Charlotte Economic Development Office, Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS), and Greenwood Cliff Developers.
View a slideshow here.