Raleigh City Council moves forward with Moore Square improvement plans

RALEIGH, N.C.. (WNCN) — An historic site in downtown Raleigh is set to get a modern makeover. City council held a special meeting about the future of Moore Square Monday night.

City leaders have been working for years on a plan to update the area and transform it into the kind of park you might see in New York City. Monday’s meeting was a key step in seeing that work come to fruition.

“I think in the next couple months we’ll really finalize all of the plans and move forward. But this is a piece that we need to get finalized so we can get it done,” said Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane.

McFarlane explained to us why city council called a special meeting to make one vote about Moore Square. Although the city manages the property, the state owns it.

“If the state owns it we have to negotiate with them to get permission to build anything on that property,” she said.

The city’s plans to revitalize the historic park involve a building for restrooms and a café kiosk. Now with city council’s approval, Raleigh officials will work with state officials on an easement to allow that addition. It’s just one change of many that McFarlane says will be coming soon.

“It’s a little tired and we’ve had some great consultants look at it. And the plan they’ve come up with really does activate that space. It really does pull people from the outside into that space and utilizes it in a much better way,” said McFarlane.

Besides a new layout, different greenery, and entrance plazas at every corner, the park will also be host to all kinds of community get-togethers.  Locals say the area is lacking in community events.

“I like on Fridays they sometimes have events here and it’s a nice community gathering space, but apart from that like once a month or something it seems like there aren’t many events here,” said downtown resident Laura Garlock.

However there are concerns about whether or not the new and improved Moore Square will displace some community members.

“I’m wondering about the homeless folks that spend a lot of their day here. I’m wondering if there could be more services for them,” said Garlock.

It’s an issue the city says will be taken into consideration, because the park should be open for everyone to enjoy.  The city is still working on construction documents and permitting for the project, but construction is expected to start this summer, and finish up in the summer of 2017.

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