As many of you know, the Fayetteville Street Mall has been torn up and become a street again. In this process, the Sir Walter Raleigh Statue that was placed on the 100 block of the mall was shipped to Cincinnati for cleaning. Well, the cleaning is done and the 11-foot statue is ready to come home but Sir Walter’s previous home has now become a street. No one has decided what to do with him and the city council seems to ignore this issue. WRAL has a good article on the situation.
I feel that not enough people care about this issue which is why the statue has been sitting in Ohio, ready to come home for over 10 months now. I am now proposing a solution to this, one that will make everybody happy and one that the city can be proud of.
The triangle lot bounded by Edenton, Hillsborough, and West Streets is the location of my proposed Sir Walter Court. Right now it is a dirt parking lot for the empty shops across Hillsborough St. and there are plans for a hotel on the block to the east of the block. My proposal can be seen here.
My vision for this court is simple. The triangle area will have a new sidewalk on the south side to help pedestrians cross Edenton Street, which is not very friendly at the moment. The sidewalk running north/south along West Street will be renovated to match the Hillsborough sidewalk. These sidewalks are important because they will hold the pedestrian traffic connecting the hotels along Hillsborough St. and the core downtown districts to Glenwood South.
The statue will be placed on a pedestal with a granite courtyard amongst the tress that currently fill the triangle. There will also be plenty of seating around the statue. Of course, there will be extensive landscaping to beautify this area around the statue, especially the shrubs on the north side. The power lines in the area must be buried and attractive, tasteful lighting will go in its place.
Hopefully the shops across the street will hold a couple food places and some shops. I want the idea of getting food and sitting outside around the statue to be a very common thing. The area is filled with trees and shade is a good commodity already.
With the proposed Winston hotels, other Hillsborough St. hotels and developments, and the edges of both Glenwood south and the warehouse district nearby, this location is a prime connection and gateway to downtown. It will easily add connectivity to pedestrians and an additional attraction to visitors.
Thoughts? Ideas? Concerns?