R.B.C. has agreed to a one-year extension
to have major construction under way for the proposed park in Third Ward. County Manager Harry L. Jones, Sr. has said the extension is the result of the bank wanting to see the project through and remain a partner in the endeavor.
RBC Corp., which sold 1.7 acres of the 5.4 –acre park site to the County in 2008, mandated that construction start within three years of the sale. The original deadline was Oct. 8, 2011.
With the extension, the County must have demolition and grading significantly complete by October 2012 or risk losing the land purchased from the bank. If construction has not started by that time, RBC has the option of repurchasing the land within two years, according to County officials. The Board has previously approved the concept of the park and voters approved bonds to construct it in 2004. However, the County hasn't sold those bonds so funding isn't available. Staff suggested the benefit of putting that project back on track for this year's 100th anniversary of the birth of the Charlotte artist Romare Bearden. It will take two years and $11 million to complete the project. Construction Schedule
In a related development, Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation has committed to leveraging County funds by raising $3 million from the private sector. A steering committee lead by Michael Smith, CEO of Charlotte Center City Partners, and Partners for Parks will have significant roles in the fundraising effort.
“We believe this will need to be more of a major donor campaign than a public campaign,” said Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Director Jim Garges.
Romare Bearden was born in Charlotte’s Third Ward in 1911. The Romare Bearden Park site is bordered by Church, Mint and Third streets and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
“The park’s design has evolved to evoke elements of Bearden’s life and work,” said W. Lee Jones , Director of Capital Planning for Mecklenburg county Park & Recreation. “The design intent is not to reproduce Bearden’s work, but design a park in a manner that reflects how he developed and constructed his works,”