Independence Park, Charlotte, North Carolina’s first public park, is currently undergoing a renovation planning and design process under the guidance of Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation and Asset and Facilities Management. This effort has centered around identifying and curating the park’s many historic, culturally and ecologically significant qualities: a historic memorial fountain, a beautiful WPA-era amphitheater, extensive stonework walls, and mature trees that form a cathedral-like canopy.
Independence Park was initially conceived of by landscape architect John Nolen as a continuous park that epitomized the “spirit of informality” as it spanned the length of a winding hollow to its confluence with Little Sugar Creek. Today it exists as a series of disassociated parts, bisected by the construction of roads, and infilled with institutional buildings. Nolen’s unrealized plan for Independence Park envisioned the site’s two original reservoirs encircled by continuous tree-lined pedestrian promenades. The park was originally designed using a limited palette of elements: trees, landform, water and stone. Today, it reflects some aspects of this early vision, but it also features many incremental additions that in aggregate undermine the integrity of its character.
With Agency at the lead of this planning and design effort, the project aims to reintroduce a sense of spatial and historic continuity, celebrating the park’s legacy, ongoing use-patterns and the spectacular views it affords to Charlotte’s uptown. Agency Landscape + Planning, partnered with Citizen Design, Bloc Engineering, RMF, The Cultural Landscape Foundation, History South, Bartlett Tree Experts, Perkins + Will, and Revington Reeves, under the guidance of Mecklenburg County Parks, is conducting ongoing analysis, master planning, public engagement, design and construction administration efforts.Project Images