Freedom Park reopens as threat of flooding diminishes

UPDATE FROM WCNC, 3 p.m.: Freedom Park reopened shortly after 2 p.m. and the annual Festival in the Park will continue, organizers tell NewsChannel 36. The annual Festival in the Park was scheduled to start at 4 p.m., but organizers say it won't start until 6 p.m. due to setup delays.

More than an inch of rain soaked much of Charlotte Friday morning, leaving streams full and prompting officials to close Freedom Park.

The annual Festival in the Park is scheduled to start today at 4 p.m. But Sharon Foote, with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services, said the Charlotte Fire Department was making sure everyone left Freedom Park due to the threat of flooding. That included Festival in the Park vendors, set up around the park's lake.

"Little Sugar Creek runs through the park and the creek is at the top of the banks," said Foote in an email message. "Briar, McMullen and McAlpine are also pretty full." Officials are monitoring the county's streams for further flooding.

In Freedom Park, Little Sugar Creek was running about even with its banks shorly before noon Friday, with brown, muddy water covering the greenway trails. There was no immediate word when the park might reopen, but workers were clearing drains and brushing mud off of the roadways.

Standing water still covered much of the main road, but had already receded somewhat. Workers said the water had covered parts of the park earlier, pointing to a line of mud about 50 feet from the banks as the high-water mark.

CMPD spokesman Officer Robert Fey said Friday morning that no serious reports of road flooding had been received. UNC-Charlotte reported Friday that Phillips Road was closed from Lot 23 to the football stadium construction site due to flooding.

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