New Center City park open to the public - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

New Center City park open to the public

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Romare Bearden Park in Uptown Charlotte is now officially open.

The ribbon was cut at the entrance to the park near the corner of Third and Church on Friday afternoon.

This weekend, the park will be filled with sounds of live music and outdoor celebrations. It celebrates Charlotte's best known artist which has several elements that appeal to the eyes.

Discovery comes in the towering entrance, and right down to the fountains where the name Romare Bearden is clearly etched in stone.

Lee Jones is the architect who designed the five acre spread in Center City.

He said, "This was a tough site to work on, on an urban environment, but Charlotte has its first premiere neighborhood park in Romare Bearden Park."

Bearden's relatives also had a say in the parks final outcome.

His niece Deidra Harris Kelley runs the Romare Bearden Foundation based in New York City.

"The most incredible thing to me is the thought that this is a public space," Kelley said.

If the Charlotte born artist were still alive, Romare Bearden would turn 102 years old on Labor Day.

However, one of the 20th centuries best known African American artist who specialized in collage is recognized in museums around the world the for never letting go of his North Carolina roots.

It took 10 years of planning and two years of building.

For business operators up and down Church Street, they call the park a real game changer.

Across the street from the Bearden Park George Photopolus' family opened the French quarter in 1986.

"I think it's gonna open up the flood gates to this side of town," he said.

"With the park being built and the baseball stadium. I think it's gonna open up the eyes for more people to come out and check us out."

Thousands are expected to check it out this weekend, and what would Romare Bearden say? His niece offers this insight.

"First he would laugh, and give one of his hearty laughs. And he would say, I'll be damned. This is some testament."

It is a testament to man that now has a permanent space in the place of his birth.

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