by Bob Geary
Fans of Moore Square should mark Feb. 17, 5:30 p.m. in their calendars. That's when the city's Parks, Rec & Greenways Advisory Board meets to formally receive the new draft master plan and take public comment on it. The board meets at the Chavis Park Community Center, 505 MLK Jr. Blvd. The board is advisory, as its name says. Whatever it thinks, the final call is the City Council's on whether to accept the plan, change it or reject it.
The plan can be viewed here: 2011MSqMasterPlanDocument.pdf
it was developed by a landscape design firm, the Christopher Counts Studio, which emerged as the winner of a city-sponsored competition last year. The original CCS concept has been revised some — toned down, I'd say — as city officials worked on the details. But the central idea still stands, which is to vary the topography of Moore Square dramatically by creating an elevated, "tilted lawn" roughly in the center of the square.
The effect of the tilted lawn, I gather, is to create two distinct spaces within the square. The so-called central lawn — still flat — will be angled to the northwest, opening up to the Marbles Museum side (north) and the Blount Street side (west). It could be used for musical or other performances.
The tilted lawn — elevated — will serve to make a sort of "park within a park" for kids and families in the southeast quadrant, opening up to City Market. A small cafe and restrooms would be added in that quadrant.
A good idea? I think it is. In contrast to some prior ideas for Moore Square, which would've overwhelmed it with "facilities," the tilted-lawn concept allows a fundamental reshaping of the square without losing some of it. In fact, you could argue that it makes it, in a functional way, "bigger."