Things have come together and over on the Community, we’re talking t-shirts. We have a slick design from the 919 Collective and I want to thank them for the contribution. Think MLB Raleigh for an already underway initiative to compare these shirts to. More on them in the future.
Deadline for t-shirt orders is this Friday, July 16 at midnight. Want one? Keep reading.
To get a shirt, simply make a donation here and include a comment with what you need. We’re looking for:
Quantity of shirts if you’re ordering more than one
Chavis Park had it’s grand opening ceremony on June 12 and the timing couldn’t be better. This is where area kids need to spend their summers as the combination of the big playground and the large splash pad make it necessary for multiple visits when the weather is hot.
If you haven’t been following, the playground, splash pad, and community center was completely rebuilt and is now open to the public. The center includes a gym, walking track, and gymnasium as well as several multi-purpose rooms. There’s a nice second-floor space with a balcony with a great view and the skyline pops over the park edge’s tree canopy.
The historic carousel house was also given a refresh and is now a meeting space. With the existing carousel, playground, and splash pad, this makes Chavis a nice spot for parents to bring kids to spend a few hours on hot days.
There are still more plans for Chavis as the master plan was broken up into multiple phases and this work only covers phase 1. In the future, Chavis may get more outdoor courts, maybe tennis and pickleball, play areas, and an aquatic center.
Today, I have a guest post from Tom Packer, President-Elect Rotary Club of Raleigh – Downtown. Tom reached out to me, we chatted a bit, and I wanted to get this post up about the club that has been meeting regularly in downtown for years. Enjoy and do check them out! – Leo
It’s easy to miss while walking past the ABC studios and SONO on Fayetteville Street, but on the brick wall of their building is an historical plaque commemorating North Carolina’s oldest charitable civic organization, the Rotary Club of Raleigh, which was founded at the site in 1914.
This site originally was the Yarborough House Hotel, which was destroyed by fire in 1928. Hudson Belk subsequently built a department store at the site which was converted to condominiums and the ground floor retail space in 2005.
Throughout this time, Raleigh’s Rotary Club has held its weekly meetings without fail at the Sir Walter Raleigh Hotel, then the Convention Center and in more recent years at the City Club atop the Wells Fargo Building. While this blog tends to highlight the buildings and structures, new and old, of downtown, sometimes it is nice to stop and reflect on what goes on inside these buildings, such as Rotary’s 117-year focus on serving our community.
Rotary’s first club president was Manly W. Tyree, pictured here in a 1915 photo and sporting a fashionable suit of the day.
Fast forward more than a century and Rotary’s 120+ members continue to live their motto of “Service Above Self” which includes the founding in 2014 of the Rotary Club of Raleigh Dental Clinic, which operates as Wake Smiles inside the Salvation Army Center of Hope on Capital Blvd.
The Rotary Club of Raleigh – Downtown has continued to work to support our community through the COVID pandemic, raising money to support such causes as StepUP Ministries, Solar Panels for Ugandan Schools, Southeast Raleigh YMCA, NC State Forestry Department Scholarship Fund, Salvation Army, Wake Smiles, MLK Food Distribution Day and the LeVelle Moton Park. Here are pictures of Rotarians recently out and working at LeVelle Moton Park and ringing bells for the Salvation Army’s red bucket.
This week, the city council received an update from Jim Greene, Assistant City Manager, and Bill King, President of the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, on the latest efforts to help and even reactivate downtown Raleigh as we continue through the COVID-19 pandemic. The riots over the death of George Floyd also had a big impact earlier this year as there are still storefronts with boards over their windows.
Today I’d like to ask readers to catch up with your downtown and take part in a short list of to-do’s that you can do to help downtown Raleigh.
Before we get in to the details, let’s get your responsibilities out of the way.
Fill Out the 2020 Census to Help Downtown Raleigh’s Future. Do that here.
I’m sharing a video this week as it contains some of the best renderings and future views of the upcoming Freedom Park, a public space dedicated to African Americans of North Carolina.
Planned for the corner of Lane and Wilmington Streets, between the NC Legislature and the NC Governor’s Mansion, the park will contain inspirational quotes from African Americans from North Carolina. There will also be a 48-foot sculpture in the park.
The new park should break ground in December 2019.
Started in 2018 and growing throughout 2019, the MLB Raleigh movement has been creeping into different sectors of our city. “the time is now for Raleigh to get organized and put their city and their support for Major League Baseball on display,” their site says.
The folks behind MLB Raleigh have made merchandise that have flown off shelves. Trophy Brewing made a beer. Their profits go towards fixing up baseball fields, partnering with the Boys and Girls Club of Raleigh.
They also have the data to show that we line up, sometimes better, than other cities that have established professional baseball teams.
The guys I’ve talked to behind MLB Raleigh are enjoying the questions they get when they announced to the city, “Why doesn’t Raleigh go for a baseball team?” (see their FAQs) The community has shown up for this and through it, ideas for a team, location, and stadium, have risen out of this grassroots effort.
Whether an MLB team in Raleigh makes sense or not is one thing but behind the covers of this sports-related effort is a true Raleigh-based conversation. The group is using baseball as a vehicle to help educate others on the region’s size and growth, start conversations on city planning and transit, and even diving into a much-discussed topic in Raleigh; brand.
What would you call our baseball team?
Where would your baseball team play?
What colors or logo would they use?
That has been an exciting aspect to watch as MLB Raleigh has tapped Raleigh’s design community to brainstorm and create. You need to dig deep and figure out what, with a logo or name, speaks to people and tells them that this is Raleigh and no other place.
In August 2019, a design event showcased some of those team names and logos that have come from those thinking about how to speak Raleigh to potential baseball fans. This is a fantastic exercise in a topic that I think is important for Raleigh.
What is Raleigh’s brand?
One aspect that I think a lot of folks forget or either don’t know is that Raleigh really was a small town leading up to the mid-1900s. You could argue that we are in the first big growth boom that Raleigh has experienced. Other cities have seen growth at different periods in their history so have been able to layer that history, and aspects from it, on top of each other, making it a part of their identity. (and their sports teams for example)
As Raleigh’s growth continues it would set us up well if the city could find that identity and build some kind of foundation to build on. We have the opportunity to blend many different perspectives with so many locals and newcomers.
With the baseball movement, we may get more out of it than just summer-time games to skip work for. If baseball helps bring out an aspect of our city that we can embrace and the world starts seeing it as the Raleigh-way, it’ll be more than just baseball that benefits but something that Raleigh-based businesses, non-profits, residents, and visitors can experience 365 days a year.
It may just take a logo or name that tells the Raleigh story.
Starting this week, myself and a group of passionate Raleigh residents are ready to show off a new way to get engaged. We’re calling it Downtown CAC and we think this new effort will resonate with long-time civic activists as well as newcomers who want to get involved. You might even have fun in the process!
Inspired by the community that has formed over on the DTRaleigh Community, a group has come together to find a way to get more people attending the Raleigh Citizen Advisory Councils. (CAC) These meetings, which all Raleigh residents are part of one, are the best way to get engaged with what is happening in your city and more specifically, what is happening near where you live.
Find your CAC here!
The meetings contain updates from the police, parks, city planning, and more. The CACs even get to weigh in on issues regarding rezonings or transit. That feedback makes its way to our city council so your voice is heard by decision makers front and center.
The issue we see is that downtown Raleigh is made up of several CAC boundaries, see the map above. Downtown residents feel a part of the downtown as a whole and not really a part of a specific CAC so public engagement could be diluted to a degree.
With a virtual effort, our Downtown CAC, we are making more people aware of the CAC system and how to participate on specific issues.
More updates and information to come through our website. If you’d like to know more, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
I had the pleasure of meeting up with Steve Rehnborg over at the Raleigh Night Market recently and he showed me his first wave of products that his company, Civic Flags, is offering. This includes a City of Raleigh flag!
Partially inspired by this 2012 blog post about the flag, Civic Flags fills in a gap in our city: you can’t easily order a flag for your own enjoyment!
I’ve got my flag so wanted to inform readers of the new site. Jump on over and see what they got. You can also follow them on Instagram to keep up with them.