Downtown Park Project

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With the approval of the 2012 Community Bonds, an initial master plan for the Downtown Park was completed. As defined by the master plan, the Downtown Park was recommended to be a signature seven-acre park defined by South Academy Street, East Park Street and Walker Street along its eastern border. The town completed the first phase of the park in March of 2017, featuring a large fountain, outdoor performance space, an outdoor games room and open lawn areas. See the Downtown Park Plan  and the Downtown Park webpage for more information. 

With the Town Square approximately one acre in size, this left six acres remaining for Phase 2 of the park. The remaining items from the 2013 Downtown Park Master Plan included, but was not limited to a regional BMP designed as a water feature for the park, walking trails and additional lawn areas. 

The Town of Cary is currently in the process of hiring a design firm with national urban parks and development experience and have four in consideration.  All of these design firms are being considered because their repeated success and commitment shared design goals, including:

  • The importance of engaging the community and incorporating unique features from the community into the park design.
  • Emphasis on the development of large and small spaces creating the right balance for each unique park setting.
  • Experience working with a variety of funding models to include public/private partnerships and/or community foundations to support design and construction of the parks.
  • An understanding of the relationship of the park’s immediate proximity to its surroundings be it a museum, a performing arts center, restaurants, shops, commercial and residential development so  the entire area thrives along with the park.

The master plan of Phase 2 for the remainder of the park and surrounding development is projected to begin in the winter of 2018.


In 2001, Town Council approved the Town Center Area Plan including a proposal for a Town Center Park as the visual and cultural focal point for downtown. The park serves the higher-density development, nearby neighborhoods, and providing opportunities for special cultural and community events.

In 2002, Council approved a specific concept plan for the Town Center Park that recommended the development of an urban park that would include outdoor sculpture, a farmer's market area, a water feature, and an outdoor amphitheater or performance area.

In 2006, Council approved the Civic & Cultural Arts Study, a plan for the development of a cultural arts district in downtown Cary. The Plan reinforced earlier recommendations to emphasize public art highlighting works by local, regional and national artists integrated into a park setting with paths, benches and nighttime lighting. The Plan also recommended a water feature, providing an ideal setting for a café with outdoor dining. Another potential feature of the sculpture park was an informal amphitheater, which could be a tiered grass seating area designed as a venue for small music, dance and theatrical performances.

In 2012, the Council endorsed reviewing the Town Site to identify specific public spaces including a Town Park and a location for a farmer's market. The review looked at creating a unique space that complements the larger downtown and surrounding neighborhoods, as well as provides a green amenity in the heart of downtown. The Town Park and public space may include a multi-purpose grass area, a plaza or community gathering space, a water feature, an area for performances, and public art.

The Park will also feature a stormwater pond system that will serve the entire block made up of South Academy Street, Kildare Farm Road, Walker Street and Park Street. This stormwater project will be coordinated with the design concepts that define the Downtown Park Master Plan. The master plan envisioned a central pond as a water feature that may be able to serve as part of the regional stormwater system.

In 2013, the Town of Cary hired the firm Cole Jenest and Stone to prepare a plan for construction of the first phase of the park which was funded in part of the 2012 Community Investment Bonds and general funds.

In March 2017, the first phase of the Park (Town Square) was completed. It features a large fountain, outdoor performance space, an outdoor games room and open lawn areas on a one-acre site along South Academy and Kildaire Fam Rd.

In May 2017, Council tasks staff to proceed with the process of hiring and selecting a national design firm to master plan phase 2 of the park and surrounding development. 


Sarah Y. Alexander, PLA Landscape Architect
Transportation & Facilities Department
Town of Cary
(919) 462-2075