Moore Square Renovations on Hold, Awaiting Funding

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Almost five years after its initial conception, a plan to redevelop downtown Raleigh’s Moore Square remains on hold as the city looks for another $14.75 million for construction.

In 2011, the city issued a draft copy of the Moore Square Master Plan, which detailed a number of new features planned for the park, including a central lawn, café kiosks and public restrooms.

The American Society of Landscape Architects in 2013 honored the plans, drawn up by Christopher Counts Studio of New York, with an award in the analysis and planning category.

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Beyond the plan itself and a comprehensive tree and soil study released in 2013, the city has yet to proceed on any of the redevelopment.

“We’re currently waiting for funding to be available to be able to move forward,” said Cassie Schumacher-Georgopoulos, a planner with the city’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department.

The remaining funds would need to come from the city’s budget, said Schumacher-Georgopoulos.

“Or a bond – we put requests into the general public improvement, but there are a lot of requests that go into that,” she said.

In order to get a bond for the park’s redevelopment on the ballot in November, the department would require approval from the City Council.

“It’s something that we’re hopeful we may be able to move forward with,” said Schumacher-Georgopoulos.

Waiting Game

In the master plan, the budget is broken down into several categories, including earthwork, utilities and site hardscape. moore square

Although the redevelopment itself could be broken down into different phases of varying costs, “we ideally would have the full amount for the project,” before taking any further steps, said Schumacher-Georgopoulos.

“We hope we can move forward in the next one to five years,” she said.

“Once the funding is in place, we’d be picking back up design services and moving forward with developing a schematic design, which would be a more detailed plan looking at grading and more at what your zoning requirements will be.”

Moore Square. Photo by Leo Suarez.

Moore Square. Photo by Leo Suarez.

Kimberly Siran, chair for the city’s Parks, Recreation and Greenway Advisory Board, said for right now, “There’s nothing that we can do or that is being done.”

For the time being, Siran cited a beautification project, scheduled for Feb. 22, and monthly cleanups in the park as “other ways Moore Square is still alive in people’s hearts – until we get funding, it won’t change much, unfortunately.”

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