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Optimist Park / Belmont Projects


dubone

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3 hours ago, tozmervo said:

Except to improve that ranking, Charlotte needs a hell of a lot of neighborhood parks out the suburbs (many of which do not need public park space), not one big ass park by uptown. 

Not disagreeing with you, but that's the metric the ranking uses 

Charlotte  needs both.  We have one big ass park hear near downtown (Balboa, which at 1,200 acres is bigger than Central Park), along with neighborhood parks throughout the city (as I noted, from my house I am within a ten-minute walk of three parks).  And also we have a mammoth park on the edge of the city that includes an entire mountain (Mission Trails, 5,800 acres).  And then the public beaches, of course, along with Torrey Pines Reserve (2,000 acres). 

Charlotte should build this great central park.  It should also be aggressively seeking land along the Catawba River or Lake Wylie) for public access, and it should be ensuring its neighborhoods all have public park space.  The Charlotte greenways are absolutely fantastic, as I have observed, and they are going to reach a huge number of residents, but that should not be the end of the city's efforts.  Every great city seems to have at least one grand park that becomes its heartbeat -- think Lincoln Park in Chicago, Griffith Park in Los Angeles, Chastain Park in Atlanta, Franklin Park in Boston, Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, Rock Creek Park in D.C., and of course Central Park in New York.  It's  not too late for Charlotte to catch up.  But at the rate the city is developing, time may be slipping away.

Edited by JacksonH
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3 hours ago, KJHburg said:

 But when I see Washington DC come on top of these list I roll my eyes as they count all the National Mall and monument land as their parkland.  In a sense it is but that is federal land.  I think we need more smaller parks like Wilmore Community Park.  

Don't roll your eyes.  The National Mall isn't the only major part in DC.  In fact, Rock Creek Park, at 1,754 acres, severely dwarfs the National Mall, which is only 146 acres.  Plus there are smaller parks all throughout the city (it's  a  short walk to a park in DC no matter where you are), then the extensive network of bike and running trails that branch out from DC starting along the banks of the Potomac River (W & OD Trail, etc ).  The amount of greenspace in and around DC is incredible.

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A lot of the inaccessibility I see from their maps (ParkScore specifically) is lack of direct access to parks and greenways. A lot of neighborhoods don’t have direct access path into parks, trails, and greenways that would qualify it for “10-minute walk.”

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2 hours ago, JacksonH said:

Don't roll your eyes.  The National Mall isn't the only major part in DC.  In fact, Rock Creek Park, at 1,754 acres, severely dwarfs the National Mall, which is only 146 acres.  Plus there are smaller parks all throughout the city (it's  a  short walk to a park in DC no matter where you are), then the extensive network of bike and running trails that branch out from DC starting along the banks of the Potomac River (W & OD Trail, etc ).  The amount of greenspace in and around DC is incredible.

I lived in the DC area for 10 years and well aware of all their parks.  Even George Washington Parkway on the VA and MD sides of the river has parkland around it all I am saying this is all Federal land national park land.  The DC area benefits from the largess of the American taxpaper and I do think it is one of the worlds best captial cities by far.  We need lots more smaller parks and greenways but this city rightly or wrongly likes to spend the big bucks on stadiums, arenas etc.  That is one reason I think Raleigh and Cary have such a far superior park system to ours.   For example when Eastland site was bought by the city why was a public park carved out (or is there plans) and now the practice fields of the Panther a county owned property.  Why is some of that not being carved out or preserved for park?    When given the change the city and county do not emphasize parks as much.   When we build them they are nice no doubt.  

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9 hours ago, KJHburg said:

I lived in the DC area for 10 years and well aware of all their parks.  Even George Washington Parkway on the VA and MD sides of the river has parkland around it all I am saying this is all Federal land national park land.  The DC area benefits from the largess of the American taxpaper and I do think it is one of the worlds best captial cities by far.  We need lots more smaller parks and greenways but this city rightly or wrongly likes to spend the big bucks on stadiums, arenas etc.  That is one reason I think Raleigh and Cary have such a far superior park system to ours.   For example when Eastland site was bought by the city why was a public park carved out (or is there plans) and now the practice fields of the Panther a county owned property.  Why is some of that not being carved out or preserved for park?    When given the change the city and county do not emphasize parks as much.   When we build them they are nice no doubt.  

Yes, I knew you had lived in the DC area, so it surprised me that you didn't mentioned Rock Creek Park, which is its greatest green asset.  Maybe you never made it there, but it's quite wonderful.  And yes, I get that the parks in DC are federally run.  It's a federal city and a federally managed city, so that goes with the territory, so to speak.  But I don't get why that fact should be a disqualifier and warrant an "eye roll" for being on this list.  The only qualifications for the cities on this list are that they be U.S. cities.  And I think that's appropriate.  Besides, there are other cities on the list that are just as laudable as DC, providing public parks within a 10 minute walk to 90% or more of residents:  Boston, Chicago, Denver, Hartford, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Portland, Providence, San Francisco, Seattle, and St. Louis.  The only city that scores worse than Charlotte is Oklahoma City (38% and 37.6%, respectively).  And in the case of both cities, only 5% of land is for recreation.  My point is Charlotte has the possibility to do much better.  It may be too late to reach the levels of many of these other cities, but there are still opportunities for some amazing parks.   And creating a huge urban park near its center should be a primary goal, especially as the cities continues trying to densify.  There needs to be more to do than visit breweries.  Time is running out, though.

Back to DC, it should be looked upon as a model.  I worked in the District for 13 years, then another 3 over the river in Pentagon City.  I was amazed by the abundance of green space and recreation.  Early during my time there, I was living outside the Beltway in Dunn Loring.  From my house, I could go a few blocks and hop onto a bike trail and go all the way to my office at 14th and Pennsylvania, some 12 or 13 miles away, with barely any interaction with vehicles.  It was fantastic.  No way I could have done anything like that in Charlotte.  DC seemed like a paradise from that perspective, and for the cultural, gastronomical, and intellectual assets it has in abundance.  The main downside for me were the muggy summers and rude drivers.  But for recreation, it's a role model of a city and one to emulate.

I agree about Raleigh and Cary.  I was very impressed when I was there with what appeared to be numerous bike trails throughout the area.

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Raleigh and Cary can be a model for Charlotte and parks.  But DC because it is Federal district and the Feds make up most of their parks that is a not a source of money Charlotte or most other cities will ever have.  However just up the road is a model for us that is all I am saying.  They are planning a huge park the Dix Park on the state property where Dorthea Dix Hospital was but the county or city  did have to buy the land from the state.  

About | Dorothea Dix Park

I have mentioned this before Atlanta has  a fundraising arm for private money for its greenways.  Does Charlotte have something like this I dont this so.   

PATH Foundation

These are cities that are more like Charlotte in how they raise money for parks.  

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On 7/31/2021 at 8:58 AM, tozmervo said:

Except to improve that ranking, Charlotte needs a hell of a lot of neighborhood parks out the suburbs (many of which do not need public park space), not one big ass park by uptown. 

Not disagreeing with you, but that's the metric the ranking uses 

Yeah, I don't like that ranking because it is misleading. Still, if our goal was to maximize the ranking on that metric, it would be much better to fill in the rail yard with high density housing that would be connected via greenway to already existing parks.

I also want to be clear that either option for that land is better than it's current use by NS.

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14 hours ago, KJHburg said:

Raleigh and Cary can be a model for Charlotte and parks.  But DC because it is Federal district and the Feds make up most of their parks that is a not a source of money Charlotte or most other cities will ever have.  However just up the road is a model for us that is all I am saying.  They are planning a huge park the Dix Park on the state property where Dorthea Dix Hospital was but the county or city  did have to buy the land from the state.  

About | Dorothea Dix Park

I have mentioned this before Atlanta has  a fundraising arm for private money for its greenways.  Does Charlotte have something like this I dont this so.   

PATH Foundation

These are cities that are more like Charlotte in how they raise money for parks.  

I agree Raleigh would be  a great model for Charlotte.  It's strange to me that two cities that are so relatively close to one another, and in the same state, yet went in such different directions in providing its citizens with outdoor recreational space.

I found this website several years ago.  It may be a bit dated (from 2010), but it shows similar information to the link I posted above.  But this is more expansive as it includes smaller cities like Raleigh.  They have Raleigh and Charlotte in different categories based on density, but nevertheless the main metric -- "Park Acres as Percent of Land Area" -- can be compared.  Raleigh is #3 in its category, with 16.9% of its land area dedicated to parks.  Charlotte and Greensboro are under the same category, and even Greensboro's number is higher than Charlotte's (9.3% vs. 5.7%).  But neither comes close to Raleigh's number.

http://cloud.tpl.org/pubs/ccpe_Acreage_and_Employees_Data_2010.pdf

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On 2/22/2021 at 2:13 PM, Urban Cowboy said:

 

If you go on Space Craft's website (https://spacecraft.city/places/charlotte/), they have another project that's described below:

 

Here are photos for this latest project. More are on their site if you're curious.

There are two other, smaller developments at that site for Charlotte. Do we think they are all in the same blocks? Hopefully they can integrate public instead of just private space into these concepts.

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On 8/1/2021 at 8:41 PM, #1Son said:

Raleigh and Cary are not really a good comparable for Charlotte due to the impact of State funded parks in the Triangle.  Umstead Park is an amazing State park that accounts for half of the park acreage in Raleigh.  But it is funded by the state of NC.  Thanks to the donor counties like Mecklenburg, Guilford, Forsyth, etc. Raleigh doesn't have to pay the cost of its largest park.  Dorothea Dix was a state mental hospital that the state originally leased to the city of Raleigh for pennies on the dollar.  Raleigh ultimately buys the property, but the only reason the land was preserved is because the state owned the land.  Charlotte and Mecklenburg county have not benefited in the same fashion as Raleigh and Cary.  And that doesn't include Jordan Lake State Park and Fall Lake State Park.  Charlotte/Mecklenburg County has zero state parks :(

I understand the point but still have trouble accepting that as a reason that Charlotte can't do big things.  In San Diego we have  the 1,200 acre Balboa Park and 5,800 acre Mission Trails Regional Park.  San Diego is not a state capital, and these are not state or federal parks; they are owned and operated by the City of San Diego, which also owns Torrey Pines Golf Course, and too many other parks and open spaces to list, which all total some 40,000 acres.  So it can be done.  It's just a matter of priorities and having the will.

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38 minutes ago, JacksonH said:

I understand the point but still have trouble accepting that as a reason that Charlotte can't do big things.  In San Diego we have  the 1,200 acre Balboa Park and 5,800 acre Mission Trails Regional Park.  San Diego is not a state capital, and these are not state or federal parks; they are owned and operated by the City of San Diego, which also owns Torrey Pines Golf Course, and too many other parks and open spaces to list, which all total some 40,000 acres.  So it can be done.  It's just a matter of priorities and having the will.

Balboa Park – Land set aside for a park 180 years ago.
Mission Trails Regional Park – Established in 1974, but built around mountains that have a prominence of almost 2,000 feet and aren't exactly developable. 
Torrey Pines Golf Course – Was built on a decommissioned military facility that was closed in world war 2, established in 1957. 

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28 minutes ago, TheRealClayton said:

Balboa Park – Land set aside for a park 180 years ago.
Mission Trails Regional Park – Established in 1974, but built around mountains that have a prominence of almost 2,000 feet and aren't exactly developable. 
Torrey Pines Golf Course – Was built on a decommissioned military facility that was closed in world war 2, established in 1957. 

Definitely a good counter point. However, Big Railyards like this close to cities have a tendency to be re-developed. Nashville Yards, Schuylkill Yards, Hudson Yards... however there is a huge amount, if not all, of private development. Maybe that could happen here? Having the Edges all distributed out to private development and the center be a giant public park. 

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This really doesn’t mean much for the Charlotte mega park but… 

CSX just sold more than half of its Tilford yard in Atlanta for development. (This is the yard in west midtown, adjacent to the new Westside Reservoir park).

https://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/news/2021/08/04/amazon-atlanta-csx-tpa-group-tilford.html

edit: original post got the location wrong

Edited by kermit
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5 minutes ago, kermit said:

This really doesn’t mean much for the Charlotte mega park but… 

CSX just sold more than half of its Hulsey / Tilford yard in Atlanta for development. (This is the yard along Dekalb ave near Inman Park and Cabbagetown.

 

I think it sets more precedent. Which is useful. 

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On 8/3/2021 at 2:03 PM, TheRealClayton said:

Balboa Park – Land set aside for a park 180 years ago.
Mission Trails Regional Park – Established in 1974, but built around mountains that have a prominence of almost 2,000 feet and aren't exactly developable. 
Torrey Pines Golf Course – Was built on a decommissioned military facility that was closed in world war 2, established in 1957. 

The story of Balboa Park is fascinating and inspiring.  I saw a documentary a few years ago.  Some civic-minded folks at the time envisioned a great city in the future that would need a great park.  This happened not 180 years ago but in the late 1860s.  The land was set aside by civic leaders.  And their vision of the future was accurate.  The city boomed in the decades ahead and many generations of citizens since, right up to the present day, have benefited greatly by the vision of those early leaders of the City of San Diego.  It's all about having vision and planning for the future welfare of the citizenry.

Mission Trails was purchased in pieces and the part that was purchased in 1974 (Cowles Mountain)  indeed WAS going to be developed.  I have hiked around there many times.  Tgere is nothing undevelopable about that land.  In fact, suburban development goes right up to the park entrance.  Knowing developers would destroy it all, park advocates and city leaders stepped in years ago and bought it, saving it from imminent development for the good of the people here. 

Yes, the land where Torrey Pines Golf Course was built was used by the military during WWII.  But it was already owned by the City of San Diego.  The federal government LEASED it from San Diego.  After the military no longer needed that land, the city took it back and built the golf course.

San Diego is not alone in having this kind of vision for its citizens.  Seattle and Denver are others.  And frankly most cities in the U.S. in comparison  to Charlotte.  So I repeat my original point, that Charlotte is woefully behind on this front and needs to take every remaining opportunity to do something big before its time runs out.

 

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  • 3 months later...

So... Two years later, I was wrong about Optimist Hall. It is a blight upon the neighborhood in a "wealthy blight" kind of way.

Just a sinkhole of excessive crowds, commercialism, and nothing meaningful. A waste of a beautiful building. I live a stones throw from it (just enough to not live around the crowds) but every time I try to get food from there I have a panic attack.

Reminds me of similar places I went to in Boston and Atlanta years ago. It feels like there's no purpose to go there.

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