A long-awaited facelift for Moore Square is poised to moved forward, a key part of Raleigh’s plans to further grow downtown.
City planners this week will hear from residents at a series of open houses about their priorities for the renovation, which has been years in the making, and future park programs.
Grayson Maughan, a city parks planner, said the meetings are intended as a kickoff for the final design and construction phases of the project.
“There’s a lot of excitement around downtown and this is a part of that,” she said.
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A master plan from 2011 calls for new entry plazas, a large lawn for performances, a stone perimeter wall, cafe-style seating and a play area for children at Moore Square.
The project faced delays for many years because of funding shortfalls during the recession.
The Raleigh City council voted in May to borrow $12.6 million to fund the project despite some concerns from council members about whether the price tag is too high.
The consultants who designed the plan will present the results to the city council this summer. The council is then expected to review the design and cost estimates in early 2016. A construction contract likely will be awarded in spring or summer of 2016, with the park expected to re-open a year later, said Maughan
David Diaz, president and chief executive officer of the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, said he hopes this will be the last round of meetings before the bulldozers start rolling.
He also hopes the council will fund the whole project, not bits and pieces.
“Raleigh is known for great parks,” he said. “So let’s not build a mediocre one in the middle of the city.”
The downtown business community has been a vocal supporter of remaking Moore Square, which some perceive as unsafe or a hangout for homeless people.
Diaz said the improvements to Moore Square would draw residents and promote economic activity in the area.
Moore Square and the surrounding blocks are a key component of the latest draft of the downtown plan, which aims to bring more energy to the quieter pockets of the city’s center.
The plan said the improvements to Moore Square as well as the Moore Square Transit Center will “energize the surrounding blocks” and better connect the east side of downtown to other parts of the city.
The plan envisions new multi-story office and residential development around the square, including a possible hotel.
It also calls for improvements to the private City Market, directly to the south of Moore Square. The space could be a location for a downtown grocery store, according to the plan.
If you go
Raleigh will host open houses from 2 to 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 29, and from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, April 30, at Market Hall in City Market, 215 Wolfe St.
Residents also can weigh in from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. during First Friday on May 1 at Market Hall and from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the City of Raleigh Museum, 220 Fayetteville St.
Participate online at yourparksyourfuture.com.