Starting Friday, people will have a new place to spend time outside in Uptown Charlotte.
The 5-acre park on South Church Street has been under construction for two years. The county had hoped to open it back in June, but rain slowed things down. Over 150 days of it. The weather has been more cooperative this week, though. Workers have been busy planting shrubs, pushing around wheelbarrows full of mulch, and caulking between stones in the sidewalks.
Lee Jones, planning director for Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation says, “we’re dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s." He and his colleagues are hoping for a big turnout this weekend.
“We expect anywhere from three to four thousand people,” he says.
The area should see crowds regularly. Bank of America stadium is just around the corner, and BB&T Ballpark is under construction next door. It’s scheduled to host its first Charlotte Knights baseball game in April.
The park is inspired by the life and work of renowned artist and Charlotte native Romare Bearden. Two of Bearden’s collages are reflected in gardens with more than 10,000 plants. There are two large lawns, white granite boulders brought in from Mount Airy, N. C., and a kids’ play area with waterfalls and poles that emit clouds of mist. The project was paid for by $11 million in bond money. Mecklenburg County Parks and Rec director Jim Garges says, “these are images and collages that Romare made over his lifetime, but they are images of Charlotte.”
He says Bearden Park is part of a plan to have a park in each of Uptown’s four wards. Next year, Garges says, the county will start work on a park two blocks north of Time Warner Cable arena.
The grand opening weekend coincides with Romare Bearden’s birthday. He would’ve been 102 on Monday.
Click here for more information about Romare Bearden Park.