Mecklenburg County wants to redevelop land it owns in Second Ward.
The vision is to create a vibrant mixed-use development with retail, hotels and homes. It will be named Brooklyn Village in honor of the predominantly African-American community of Brooklyn that was destroyed in the 1960s and 70s on that land. The county wants to bring a neighborhood back to Second Ward.
[Agenda story: Second Ward is getting a second chance]
But redeveloping the land will include tearing up Marshall Park.
Developers have been asked to create a master plan for roughly 15 acres of county-owned land that currently is home to a few government buildings — and Marshall Park.
[Agenda story: 3 visions for the revival of Brooklyn Village Uptown]
All three proposals Mecklenburg County has received include a park. But none of them are as large. Marshall Park totals more than 5 acres. None of the proposals include more than two aces of green space (the county is requiring at least 1.6 acres).
This has parks advocates very worried.
The Park and Recreation Commission is asking county commissioners to require at least a 5 acre park be part of the plan for Brooklyn Village. That would keep the open space Uptown from shrinking.
In a letter to county commissioners, parks commission leaders said the park in Brooklyn Village should be comparable in size to the parks in other wards Uptown. They said a minimum 5 acres was needed to make it the “appropriate size for programmed events and meaningful recreational activities.” They also want dedicated parking spaces for the park.
FYI: Romare Bearden Park in Third Ward is about 5.4 acres. First Ward Park is about 4 acres. Fourth Ward Park is 3 acres.
What comes next?
Parks commission chairwoman Elaine Powell said she has yet to receive a formal response. Negotiations are still in the early stages, though, and a larger park could still become part of the plans if county commissioners deem it appropriate.
For their part, county commissioners haven’t been thrilled with the proposals — in part because of shrinking park space.