Downtown Park Project

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Project Scope

The Downtown Park is a signature seven-acre park site located on Town-owned land bounded by South Academy Street, East Park, Walker, Walnut, and Kildaire Farm Roads. The firms Cole Jenest and Stone and Halvorson Design Partnership prepared the 2013 master plan for Downtown Park which included the first phase of the Master Plan; a Town Square space along Academy Street and features such as a large fountain, outdoor performance space, and open lawn areas. See the Downtown Park Plan for more information.

Park First Phase Project Cost and Schedule

Funding for this project was approved by Cary voters in 2012 as part of the Community Investment Bonds referendum in the amount of $2 million dollars. An additional $3.6 million was approved for the Town Square project. The total project budget is $5.6 million, which includes design and construction costs.

  • Design/Bidding: Fall 2013 - Winter 2015
  • Construction: Fall 2015 - Spring 2017

Project Background

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.


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