CORRECTION APPENDED: The city will still need state legislative approval to put permanent structures on Moore Square. State officials did not agree to the construction as originally reported, but will support the city’s move to ask the general assembly for permission.
State officials say they will support Raleigh’s move to ask the state legislature to change a law that prevents permanent structures from being built on Moore Square. The city will need the change in order to move ahead with the proposed redesign of Moore Square.
The new design includes bathrooms and a permanent kiosk, which are currently not allowed on the state-owned square.
Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker announced the compromise at Tuesday’s city council meeting where councilors voted 7-1 to move ahead with the redesign process.
The state had originally rejected the installation of bathrooms and a kiosk. Officials now say they will support construction of both, but reserve the right to remove the structures later. The General Assembly will have to give final approval to have the permanent structures in the park.
North Carolina Department of Administration Secretary Moses Carey said in a letter last week that his department will support the necessary legislative amendment.
Thomas Crowder (District D) cast the dissenting vote, citing concerns about how construction might affect the park’s 100-year-old trees. Both he and Councilor Russ Stephenson (at large) wanted more information from the Tree Conservation Task Force.
Chief Planning Officer Mitchell Silver said the design is conceptual and there is enough time between now and the creation of the construction plans to review such issues.
“Waiting until construction documents are not going to determine if this is feasible or if there is going to be damage to a 100-year-old tree,” said Crowder, indicating that he would love to approve the design. “But if this is a political push to move this on forward; I can’t support it.”
“Mr. Crowder, let me assure you, there is no political push,” Meeker responded. “We are trying to address this question on its merits, and you don’t need to question other people’s motives.”
Solar charging station
The city council approved a partnership with Progress Energy to undertake a pilot program for a solar charging station. The two-car solar-powered parking structure will be capable of charging electric cars and will be located on South Salisbury Street near the convention center. The pilot program will last two years and be jointly funded by Progress Energy and the City.
Percent for Art ordinance
The council approved a change to the Percent for Art ordinance, which will now allow roadway improvements for all gateway arteries and thoroughfares. The Percent for Art ordinance sets aside one-half percent of the cost of capital projects for the creation of public art.