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dubone

A large urban park in Charlotte?

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I agree that the 3rd Ward park will be a great addition that will serve intown residents well, but it still isn't much more than a small community greenspace/public square. It won't have active recreation facilities or picnic shelters, or ponds, or public gardens, or other amenities that large signature parks typically have.

My plan isn't about serving downtown residences (though it would), it's about solving lots of issues with one investment.

- Site for future cultural amenities.

- Relocate industrial use out of the center city.

- Spark redevelopment of high-crime area.

- Provide a public space big enough for the entire city to enjoy (concerts etc..) that is free for all.

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^That is an admirable goal and definately one that Charlotte desperately needs. The problem is the proposal doesn't suggest any reasonable ways to pay for it. Charlotte has already shot its wad on a number of very high profile projects for the center city, some of which have not even been built yet, and there isn't any way to pay for this for the forseeable future.

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That big cemetary downtown would be a good size for a park as well. It would probably be cheaper to convert than a place of industry.

But I do like the idea of converting the train yard. 500 acres would provide quite the park and probably would lead to a signifcant revival of that area.

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I agree that Elmwood Cemetary would be a nice place for a park...and it already is kinda used as a park by joggers and walkers. But I think that if the city even suggested it was going to have to move all those graves then the relatives of the people buried there would literally burn city hall down. There was a huge uproar from them back when NCDOT was looking at expanding the rail road tracks into the cemetary which would have required some of the graves to be moved.

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That big cemetary downtown would be a good size for a park as well. It would probably be cheaper to convert than a place of industry.

But I do like the idea of converting the train yard. 500 acres would provide quite the park and probably would lead to a signifcant revival of that area.

It might just be me, but I think there is some kind of legality issue there. I agree though, you can't exactly say that space is wasted inside the loop, but even Cabarrus County has park space in conjunction with a graveyard. The only problem this poses is the threat of vandalism to the graves by making this a traveled public spot.

If the rail yards are indeed moved, how much of what we see in that picture will actually be functional? I can't see N & S leaving all that material for dead, would they pull up the old lines to recycle?

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Under what I'm proposing, everything in the foreground would be park, with the four furthermost to the right tracks still exisitng but buried.

The light rail line would go basically where the large tower lights along the left hand side of the photo, and the left edge of the photo (which is the multi-modal truck yards) would be one portion of the land that could be redeveloped into higher density.

As far as funding....the new development would raise nearly $20M a year, which is enough to cover maybe 1/2 the cost if TIF bonds were raised. I could see the Fed paying a portion of burying the lines as part of the SEHSR project. There is still probably a $100M gap.

One thing is, this project doesn't need to happen now....but it does need to start being pitched/planned now. Construction wouldn't need to begin until 2012 or so, to coincide with the NE LRT and SEHSR.

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500 acres seems to be an incredible amount of land for a park downtown. Central Park in New York is something like 800 acres and is huge. Charlotte has no need for a park that large now or in the forseeable future. Why not build a 100 acre park and sell the rest of the land for developers to build around?

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500 acres seems to be an incredible amount of land for a park downtown. Central Park in New York is something like 800 acres and is huge. Charlotte has no need for a park that large now or in the forseeable future. Why not build a 100 acre park and sell the rest of the land for developers to build around?

I do have to agree, while an enormous park would be nice to show off, it seems like overkill to a city Charlotte's size. There aren't enough people in the surrounding area to justify 500 acres. I believe the cutoff should probably be around 200. That would serve the purpose of being a large park and would leave a lot of room for prime development around the park.

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I agree as well....the train yards are only 120 acres and I think that is plenty. Mary Newsome's topic was starte with the suggestion of 500 acres, which is way too big.

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well, i think its a great idea. however, as hard as people have fought for the arts package, light rail, bearden park (third ward).... i just don't think the cities vision could reach this far. the money, i think, they could make work... prime land on a premier park, on the light rail, amazing views, and connectivity between uptown and north davidson... wow. i like the way your thinking, atlrvr.... must be the brisk boston air (except the whole tunnel thing has me baffled) :)

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It might just be me, but I think there is some kind of legality issue there. I agree though, you can't exactly say that space is wasted inside the loop, but even Cabarrus County has park space in conjunction with a graveyard. The only problem this poses is the threat of vandalism to the graves by making this a traveled public spot.

Here are some photos I took recently of Memorial Gardens in downtown Cabarrus County which is a cemetary/park:

235945433_767a277b4f_m.jpg247635037_9201941b2f_m.jpg

247637246_fddbe0acd3_m.jpg235944579_c175513211_m.jpg

247632924_1c6d282f00_m.jpg

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For my .02 I think the cemetary is the cheaper option, and more natural, setting aside of course any legality/morality issues. But in 50 years I can see a 3 million pop Charlotte finally bulldozing it anyway. How many acres is the cemetary now? If a lot then divide it, put a street ot two through it to reestablish the street grid here and still have a sizable park.

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I could see the Fed paying a portion of burying the lines as part of the SEHSR project. There is still probably a $100M gap.

I don't see the FTA spending a dime in expenses to make this park possible even if they commit to building the SEHSR project. They won't even spend the money to keep up the tracks that are there now for passenger service so trains are forced to travel at 45mph or less. If it wasn't for the fact the NCDOT is funding rail service in this state, Charlotte only only have one train a/day passing through here, the crescent at something like 1am in the morning.

Norfolk Southern will have no interest at all in paying to move their lines. They may consider letting the city of Charlotte pay for it, but don't expect any favors when it comes to the price they will charge to let the city use their ROW for a park.

Any plan that requires money from these sources simply isn't going to happen. It will be much easier for the city to dig up the dead people and put them somewhere else. It is an amazing waste of a large amount of land in the center of Charlotte. On the other hand, I don't see that a park that is surrounded by I-77 and I-277 is going to be that popular.

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Elmwood Cemetary is 72 acres...but it is alllll gravesites...no open space to speak of. Politically I don't think this is possible. First off the County is the one that does Parks around here and the City is the one that owns the land. Elmwood is a very sensitive issue. The city at one time was looking at extending Cedar St through the cemetary to connect with the NC Music Factory...and that didn't require any graves to be moved and litterally hunderds of people showed up at City Council and that idea was trashed really quickly.

In an ideal world it would be a nice place for a park but politically I think atlrvr's idea would be a lot easier to accomplish than Elmwood.

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^^Just on one side, really, which could be lined by a 150-200 foot barrier of trees, something to effectively block from view and drown out of the noise of the freeway. Something like that would be good/necessary one day anyway when density needs force the removal of the cemetary and the freeway becomes a nuisance for what ever is developed there. All this is assuming the cemetary is large enough, it looks to be (very roughly) around 180 acres, up to Uptown Village. EDIT - OK^, 72 acres sounds better, I was taking "liberties" with Pinewood and some other chunks of land in that area.

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Just to put into perspective how big an area we are talking about, I was crunching some numbers and figured that a park that is 500 acres is roughly 90% of all the land inside of the 277/77 beltway.

As far as turning Elmwood/Pinewood cemetery into a public park, good luck with that. Here is an online article that talks about its importance to many people along with several photos.

Elmwood/Pinewood

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Atlrvr, in looking at satellite photos of downtown this would seem to make for a perfect place to do such thing. See this link. If they could turn this in to a big square of green like Central Park, it could add a great deal to life in the city. Unfortunately I rate this project up there with plan to cap I-277 since there essentially is no way to pay to relocate these very well used rail lines. Good idea though.

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What a visionary idea! Mix some of the money that was spent on the arena with a little of the energy poured into a new baseball park, and we could have had this. Judging by how much we've had to fight for 8 acres, I'm not sure what it would take to get 120?

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I think that looks like a great idea. Looking at the Google map it sure is closer to downtown than I imagined (I try not to venture up N. Tryon too often :unsure: ).

In reality, it probably will never happen BUT it is something that could be feasable 10-15 years from now. Heck, we can't even get the 6-8 acre park approved uptown. But as uptown continues to grow beyond the 277 boundries, someone/something will eventually take a hard look at that property.

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The 8-acre park is going to be sacrificed so that another sports owner can make more money on a team that can't make it on its own. Now you know where the real priorities of this city lie.

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The 8-acre park is going to be sacrificed so that another sports owner can make more money on a team that can't make it on its own. Now you know where the real priorities of this city lie.

Well, how does a city like Atlanta, have sports venues and parks? Is it too much to ask to have both? Why does it have to be one or the other?

The larger question is, what in the hell was the city doing in the 60's, 70's, 80's, etc. that prevented a sizeable park from being built years ago. Surely Charlotte wasn't large enough to support professional sports in those days and professionals sports was not on the radar, but where was the idea of a functional city park. Why not an aquarium, zoo etc?

5 or 8 acres is not much of a difference in my opinion, it's still small, usage should be the more important factor.

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Well, how does a city like Atlanta, have sports venues and parks?

Do you honestly think the urban development in Atlanta is a good model, out of all the cities in the world, to follow? Charlotte has Freedom Park, like Piedmont Park, which is a large functioning city park.

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The larger question is, what in the hell was the city doing in the 60's, 70's, 80's, etc. that prevented a sizeable park from being built years ago. Surely Charlotte wasn't large enough to support professional sports in those days and professionals sports was not on the radar, but where was the idea of a functional city park. Why not an aquarium, zoo etc?

I have asked the same thing myself, and shockingly there have been no answers. :whistling:

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I'm envisioning a park that will serve many functions for Charlotte's future.

Of the 120 acres, I could see it being broke out into the following.

10 acres for 4 baseball fields.

5 acres for 2 soccer/flag football fields

2 acres for 6 tennis courts (including 1 with stands)

2 acres for 6 volley ball courts (including 1 with stands)

2 acres for 5 basketball courts (including 1 with stands)

4 acres for assorted other active recreation facilities (bocce ball, croquet, horeshoes)

30 acres of wooded natural space containing a 15 acre pond w/ row boat rentals

10 acre "Great Lawn"

5 acre "Less Great Lawn"

2 acre grand promenade extanding through park

2 acres for picnic shelters

1 acre pavillion with concessions

25 acres for future cultural facilities (Opera House, Symphony Hall, and smaller specialized museums)

That leaves about 20 acre left over for something else.....I don't know if we want to do a children's zoo too, or more open space, but it is obvious that 120 acres would allow for a LOT of amenities.

One other point that I had forgot was that besides the two adjacent LRT stops, it will also be less than 2 blocks from the Little Sugar Creek Greenway.....it would be relatively simple to join them, allow joggers/walker and bicyclist another mile or so of solitude.

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