South Charlotte

New park to open soon in Midtown

A park that will include areas suitable for events and gatherings is scheduled to open on Kings Drive in Charlotte this spring, next to the mixed-use Metropolitan development.

Shade trees at Midtown Park will surround a rectangular lawn that is expected to be suitable for a grand wedding or a small jazz band.

Stone work and other materials for the $1 million project will visually link Midtown Park with the adjacent park areas that reach from Pearl Park Way to Morehead Street.

Public art for the park is being developed by Living Lenses artists Po Shu Wang and Louise Bertelsen of Berkeley, Calif.

The artists call their piece - a gleaming sphere - a Braille music box. The work will combine features for visitors who have sight as well as those with impaired vision.

The design for Midtown Park is transforming the one-acre site that until a few years ago was a gas station opposite Midtown Square mall, a massive concrete structure and parking lot whose strongest tenants moved on decades ago.

New restaurants, shops and national chain stores at the Metropolitan development have revived the Midtown Square site. Mecklenburg County is restoring the stream in that area, and others elsewhere.

One of the county's goals is to create a better habitat along the creek for wildlife and aquatic life.

Ultimately, the greenway trail along the entire length of Little Sugar Creek is expected to reach South Carolina.

Midtown Park will have a formal stairway that connects to the greenway trail. Visitors also will have access from Kings Drive and Pearl Park Way.

"It is a showpiece along the greenway," said Gwen Cook, planner for Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation.

"This is probably the last bit of real formality as you move upstream."

The park areas along the greenway between Elizabeth and Charlottetowne avenues will be less formal, Cook said.

Midtown Park will be available for rent once the lawn becomes well-established, which could take several months.

"We do want to get people out there, but we want to take care to minimize damage to newly planted things," Cook said.