I’ve talked to three people in the last week who recently moved to First Ward or “the Garden District.” Unsure of exactly which area of town that was (and clearly confusing it with Fourth Ward), I gave it a Google and learned a whole lot about an area buzzing with the same up-and-coming energy South End had a few years ago. (Follow @firstwardjohnny on Twitter for all things First Ward. I equate him to Ted “@greenmarketguy” Boyd who single-handedly branded South End as the next cool place to be in Charlotte.)
In the same way BB&T Ballpark and the adjacent Romare Bearden Park breathed new life into the heart of the city, the forthcoming First Ward Park at 7th and Brevard will completely redefine Uptown.
The 4-acre park (Romare Bearden is 5 acres for reference) is the first step in a string of development in the area led by Levine Properties that will include apartments, offices, parking decks and hotels. First Ward Park, designed by JP Shadley will take over the empty lot between 7th Street Public Market and UNC-Charlotte Uptown where the now defunct Dixie’s Tavern (closed for the opening of the park) sits unoccupied and awaiting revival.
Here’s the current master plan:
The First Ward Neighborhood Association is picking up steam along with the neighborhood so I stalked out their newsletter to learn more about the park. Here’s what to expect:
- 4 acres total with a big lawn, interactive fountain, outdoor dining and a giant chess board
- Dogs are allowed if they’re on a leash
- Ongoing family-friendly programs similar to those currently scheduled at Romare Bearden
- Dixie’s will be renovated and, as best I can tell, will feature a two-story outdoor patio that overlooks the park
- Slated opening: December 2015 or early January 2016
Possible concept for Dixie’s (from Mecklenburg County Parks & Recreation):
Construction impacting the area includes street closures at 8th and 9th Street until at least June. The adjacent Blue Line extension project will then shut down 7th Street after 9th Street has reopened.
Anybody else kind of want to move to First Ward now?