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A 13-acre park is planned in NoDa. One group asks, why not triple the size?

Queens Park
Friends of Queens Park
Friends of Queens Park envisions a 37-acre park within walking distance of NoDa's commercial center, just behind the 36th Street light rail station.

Mecklenburg County is making plans to build a 13-acre park in NoDa, but a local advocacy group says it could be possible to nearly triple to park's size and make it a signature spot in Charlotte.

As planned, the park would be a five-minute walk from NoDa's commercial center, just a block behind the 36th Street light rail station.

Visitors would enjoy a dog park, a skate park, a green space and a connection to the Cross Charlotte Trail.

But Eric Spengler of the Friends of Queens Park group, which is pushing for a large, central park in Charlotte, says the park's size could be nearly tripled to 37 acres by using additional land already owned by the city and county and land from some interested developers.

The extra space could be filled with public art, an expanded skate park or whatever the public wanted.

"You could do a lot here, and I think it really depends on what the community wants, but part of the process in the next few months here is to engage the community and get public input," Spengler said.

Mecklenburg County's current plans for a 13-14 acre park along Cullman Avenue and 36th Street.
Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation
Mecklenburg County's current plans for a 13-14 acre park along Cullman Avenue and 36th Street.

The land could also be used as a starting piece for the group's vision of a massive 220-acre park north of uptown Charlotte on the current site of the Norfolk Southern rail yard.

The park is envisioned in the form of New York City's Central Park, with winding paths, a lake and city-defining public art. But plans for the park have hit a wall with Norfolk Southern, which has shown no interest in selling the land.

The park in NoDa would be located on the southern tip of the railyard, and Spengler says his group will keep trying to find the right incentives to convince Norfolk Southern to sell or share its land.

Most of the land for the NoDa park is currently unoccupied, except for some warehouses. Additionally, much of the land is in a floodplain running alongside Little Sugar Creek.

Spengler said the majority of land needed for the expanded 37-acre park is already owned by the city and county, while the remaining land is owned by private developers who've expressed positive interest in the plan.

Earlier this year, Mecklenburg County Commissioners gave $50 million to the Park and Recreation Department to acquire more land for future parks and greenways.

Spengler said his group planned to share more details and renderings of the plan with the city and county in the coming weeks and is optimistic the plan could be implemented within a few years.

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Nick de la Canal is an on air host and reporter covering breaking news, arts and culture, and general assignment stories. His work frequently appears on air and online. Periodically, he tweets: @nickdelacanal