downtown park

Academy Street Construction: The New Downtown Park

downtown park

Cary, NC — In February, with the help of Kyle Hubert (project manager for the upcoming construction to Academy Street), CaryCitizen shared with the community the Town’s basic timeline, design layout, and plan to minimize disruption and traffic build-up.

This month, we’ll share details on one development that is a major part of this plan–the new downtown park to be built at the corner of Dry Avenue and Academy Street.

Academy Street Construction Coverage

Stay up-to-date on Academy Street construction with CaryCitizen. Each month, as part of our Academy Street Construction Series, we’ll share an update on the plans or progress of downtown’s construction–which will begin in April.

For details on the overall construction plan, design features, and communication with the Town, refer to last month’s post on Academy Street Construction: What To Expect.

Downtown Park: An Overview

The new Downtown Park will include a large fountain, an outdoor performance space, and an open lawn area. It will rest in the seven acre site at the corner of Dry Avenue and Academy Street (right across from Belle at the Jones House and the Cary Arts Center). This park stemmed from plans that have been in place since 2001–plans to bring a visual and cultural focal point to downtown that could provide more space for community events or leisure.

Outdoor Culture

Hopefully, the Downtown Park will bring more residents–and visitors–to the downtown area. Now, in addition to shopping and dining, Downtown Cary will also be a place to relax and spend time. Projects like the several-year-old Cary Arts Center and the recently renovated Cary Theater also aspire to bring this enhanced culture to the downtown area.

The new Downtown Park could serve as a spot for a farmer’s market, an outdoor performance venue, or a spot to exhibit public art. Many of the Academy Street design plans like wider sidewalks, lights in trees, and marked parking spots, will also work to support a prominent outdoor culture and a “love of place” in Downtown Cary.

downtown park

Design Details

The Downtown Park can be looked at as three areas:

  • Fountain/entrance/seating
  • Overlook
  • Terraced lawn

The lawn area beyond the fountain will feature 7,200 square feet of open space, or seating, for event opportunities. The fountain area, and the program area around it, is a 8,200 square foot plaza that will feature benches and tables for additional seats.

The overlook, a 2,500 square foot area, provides a view that overlooks the entire park and a stage for concerts. Beyond the overlook rests an almost half-circle-shaped terraced lawn that will provide natural seating. Grass “earthwork steps” or concrete steps are proposed for this area. Two gardens will rest on either side of the fountain.

Cost & Timeline

From the Town of Cary:

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 $3.2 million was approved for the Town Square at the November 21, 2013 Council Meeting. Total project budget is $5,200,000, which includes design and construction costs.

The Downtown Park construction will begin with the Academy Street construction and should reach completion around the same time. Design and bidding on the project has neared the finish line, and construction will begin in Spring 2015 and conclude a little over one year from now in Spring of 2016.

Questions about the Downtown Park can be sent to Sarah Y. Alexander, PLA and Landscape Architect. More information can be found through the Town of Cary website.

Communication & Public Information

  • Public Information Meeting: Tuesday, March 10, 2015; 5:30-7:00 pm

A meeting will be held at The Cary Theater next week to show the public a presentation on Academy Street construction plans and to take any questions from the audience. Citizens can either contact Kyle Hubert, Academy Street Project Manager, directly or subscribe to an email list for updates anytime through the Town of Cary website.


Story by Jessica Patrick. Photos from Town of Cary. Read more CaryCitizen coverage on Academy Street Construction.


Downtown coverage on CaryCitizen is sponsored in part by Sister Cities of Cary.