The unanimous City Council vote today in favor of having a public competition to redesign Moore Square put me in mind of the last time city officials wanted to mess with Moore -- back in '01 -- and how that came to naught. A big issue then was that citizens weren't consulted before the Parks Department rolled out a redesign of its own, and a dreadful redesign at that. This time, the planning department's in charge, and it's all about citizens' input, with "an open call for design ideas," etcetera, etcetera. (See below for the city's press release.)
But a better process still begs the question, does Moore Square really need a redesign? Or just a clean-up and some fresh plantings? That's the first question the "competitors" should address, before anybody starts packing new stuff into one of the downtown's last open spaces.
And to the blogger at NewRaleigh who worried that the real idea here is to drive out the homeless so big-time development can come in, well, your worst fears have been realized: Someone is calling for a "world-class" public square, per the press release:
CITY COUNCIL APPROVES PUBLIC COMPETITION TO REDESIGN MOORE SQUARE
The City of Raleigh will have an open public competition to redesign Moore Square into a world-class public space. The City Council voted unanimously today to approve the project.
The City plans to have an open call for design ideas, conduct a juried conceptual design competition to select the winning design, and develop and implement a master plan for Moore Square. Two objectives of the project are to create a world-class public space and urban experience for the 21st century and to engage broad public participation throughout the process and in the future.
The City hopes to approve a final design plan for Moore Square in early 2010, a master plan for the park by the summer 2010. The State of North Carolina, which owns Moore Square, will have to agree to the final design before construction could begin in 2011 or later, depending upon the economy.
Today, the City Council approved the first three phases of the six-phase project to redesign Moore Square --- planning, strategy and start-up activities; open call for ideas and juried conceptual design competition.
An open call for ideas will kick off the public’s participation in the project, and is scheduled to be held from May to September. A series of three planning events will be held to solicit design ideas for Moore Square. Anyone will be able to submit design ideas, including residents, students at local schools and universities, neighboring landowners, park advocates and environmental groups. All ideas will be summarized, mounted and displayed in an exhibition in Downtown Raleigh. The juried conceptual design competition will start in September and include impaneling a jury to review design ideas. A ceremony will take place in early 2010 to announce the winner of the competition.
An interactive website is planned to be created to keep the public updated throughout the project. Mailings will be sent to update interested citizens who do not have Internet access.