CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Queen City News) — An uptown park will get a new name and look following an approval by the Charlotte City Council Monday night.
Thomas Polk Park will soon be named after former Bank of America CEO Hugh McColl Jr. In its petition to city leaders, Charlotte City Center Partners called the 1/3-acre park at the southwest corner of Trade and Tryon streets “obsolete.” The city-owned park’s most robust feature is a 30-foot fountain on a rock wall in shadows of the BOA Corporate Center.
“The Hugh McColl Park Coalition wants to transform the city-owned park into a celebrated public space that welcomes all – and the group is well on its way to a $10 million fundraising goal to pay for the rehabilitation,” a letter from City Partners reads.
The coalition’s proposal calls for demolition of the current park and installation of temporary turf to activate the park while design and fundraising are underway. The city’s contribution to the project would be the demolition of the park at an estimated cost of $350,000.
Queen City News’s Emma Withrow reported that Council Member Lawana Slack opposed the renaming because she believes since McColl is still living it should honor someone who has already passed. Slack is also concerned about using taxpayer dollars for the project.
“In the capital fund, I really feel like there are other capital needs that we have right now,” she said, “that $350,000 could address.”
City Partners will be demolishing and renovating the park. The Center City 2020 Vision Plan called for such action to reinforce the significance of the public space to Charlotte, City Partners said.
Thomas Polk fought in the Revolutionary War and was among the local residents and officials who drafted and adopted the Mecklenburg Resolves. He is the great-uncle of James K. Polk, the 11th president of the U.S. and Mecklenburg native.
Max speed decreases for Blue Line
After City Council members revealed they were unaware of a Blue Line derailment from May 2022, CATS announced it is lowering the maximum speed for its North-South train to 35 mph.
The presentation included details of the incident last spring. Officials say it was caused by a bearing that present on all 42 of the fleet’s cars.
CATS said that to avoid additional issues, it’s using technology that identifies problems with bearings before their failure. The transit organization also is increasing inspections.