Cary, NC – On Wednesday, July 25, 2018, hundreds of Cary-ites had the chance to give the Town feedback on the future development plans for the second phase for Cary’s Downtown Park. More than 300 citizens attended the workshop.
A little over a year ago, The Town of Cary opened the first phase of its Downtown Park in March of 2017. The one-acre site includes the iconic fountain, a natural grassy area, games (ping-pong, bocce and foosball), as well as a stage area, and seating. The remaining seven acres of the total 14-acre site bounded by South Academy, East Park Street, Walker and Dry Avenue has yet to be finalized.
The community meeting held by the Town of Cary last Wednesday at Chatham Station gave residents a chance to meet the design team, see examples of past projects they have designed and weigh in on ideas that could one day become part of a landmark park. Parks and Recreation Director, Doug Mc Rainey and others on town staff, are hoping the park will not only be a huge draw for Cary residents but will become a Top 10 “must-see” for travelers visiting the Triangle region on vacation and business trips.
The community meeting kicked off with a mix and mingle that included free catered food and beverages while attendees were given sticky dots to use to “vote” on ideas that they want to see included in the future design. After a brief introduction by McRainey, Simon Beers of the design team of the Office of James Burnett (OJB Landscape Architecture), showed a powerpoint slideshow of other landmark projects the firm has designed including LeBaur Park, in Greensboro, NC.
From The Town Manager’s Office:
Simon Beers, the consultant from the Office of James Burnett (OBJ), led the workshop and remarked about the impressive attendance and enthusiasm. Simon Beer, Project Manager for OJB, commented that Cary’s attendance and interest has surpassed his experiences in other communities. The growing excitement by Cary citizens is further evidenced by the completion of over 800 online surveys within a 48 hour period this week.
Around the room, residents reviewed aspects of the park that could be included. Ideas for public art, technology, open space, kid-friendly play structures, water features, food purveyors, pavilions, seating and many others needs were on display where dots (or “votes”) could be counted.
Next up were table discussions in which blank maps illustrated existing structures and topography. Discussion and debate were encouraged with each table having a representative from the design firm and a Parks and Recreation board member to facilitate and take notes. AT the close of the evening, the maps were taped down and hung for display and will be reviewed back at design firm offices.
While the park represents one of the largest land areas for such a park that the firm has designed, competing needs will cause some ideas to be shelved in favor of the best uses for the land. Different demographics will naturally use and approach the park differently and trying to satisfy the greatest number of users to activate the park is the Town’s number one priority. Programming in the park will be key to its ultimate success.
Another community event will be held in the fall to show the results of this exercise and further the design process. Look for information about that in the coming weeks.
Take The Survey
If you missed this week’s event, never fear, you can take an online survey for your voice to be heard. The link is here:
Story and photos by Lindsey Chester.