Moore Square Park
Landscape Performance Benefits
- Sequesters an estimated 5,797 lbs of atmospheric carbon annually in 47 newly planted and preserved trees, 28 of which are 100-year-old oaks. 95% of 298 surveyed visitors expressed that the park's trees make them feel happier and healthier.
- Attracted 738,051 visitors in 2022, with an average of 2,022 daily visitors. 500 events are held yearly, with events driving visitor numbers especially in the fall and winter. 22% and 42% more people on average, respectively, are in the park during events (as compared to non-event times) in those seasons.
- Promotes a sense of community, with 91% of 309 surveyed visitors reporting that the park makes them feel like part of the community. 6 event organizers reported choosing the park because of its openness and its downtown location.
- Supports dwell time, with 95% of 382 surveyed visitors reporting that they typically spend more than 10 mins in the park. This is attributed to added amenities like food and beverage options, restrooms, a children's play area, and a splash pad.
- Supports the operation of at least 1 nonprofit organization observed in the park daily over a three-month period, serving an estimated 120 to 140 people experiencing homelessness each day. 23 interviewed nonprofit organizations reported that they choose to operate in the park because of its safety and openness.
- Promotes art, with 77% of 132 surveyed visitors reporting seeing art in the park.
- Reduced crime incidents within a one-block radius by 44%, with drug-related crimes 6.5 times lower after the park was retrofitted.
- Increases perceptions of safety, with 88% of 376 surveyed visitors reporting that they feel safe due to good visibility across the park, the presence of crowds during events, and the police officer on site.
- Contributed to increased property values surrounding Moore Square Park by 80% between 2018 and 2021 when adjusted for inflation. Property values around a comparable park a half-mile away increased by 38% during the same period.
- Contributed to a 600% increase in the number of residential real estate sales within 3 blocks of Moore Square Park when comparing pre-announcement to post-announcement periods. The average price per square foot increased from $228 to $353.
- Increases revenue during events by a reported 25% to 50% for 17 businesses within 2 blocks of the park. 88% of 337 surveyed visitors reported visiting nearby businesses when they attend the park events.
- Generated $50,787 in revenue for the City of Raleigh in 2022 from rental fees and special events.
- Contributed to the development of at least 8 new commercial and multifamily residential developments within 2 blocks of the park. 81% of 132 surveyed visitors reported that they would like to live or work within walking distance of the park.
- Supports an average of 70 local businesses through farmers market events, with vendors reporting that they sell in the park due to its downtown location, open design, and feeling of safety. 91% of 28 interviewed vendors acknowledged that the success of their businesses depended on the farmer's market events hosted in the park.
At a Glance
Former Land Use
201 S Blount St
Raleigh, North Carolina 27601
Moore Square Park in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina has been a cherished green space since 1792. Located in the main business district for the Black community during the Jim Crow era, the park remains central to the Black community today by fostering and supporting Black-owned businesses. The 2018 redesign was implemented to respond to growing safety concerns and attract visitors to revitalize surrounding businesses. Large trees and shrubs previously obstructed the park’s central area, limiting visibility and posing challenges for large events and gatherings. The redesign removed shrubs while preserving the historic oak trees. Seating was strategically placed along edges for better visibility across the park. A spacious lawn and broader sidewalks accommodate events and food trucks. Moore Square Park now provides a secure and inclusive environment, welcoming people of all backgrounds including people experiencing homelessness. Its diverse community events cater to all ages and abilities, demonstrating its ongoing importance as a flexible public space.
- Provide inclusive and flexible spaces to accommodate a range of event scales and programming, celebrating the site’s history and cultural heritage while anticipating evolving needs.
- Increase safety in and around the park.
- Preserve healthy historic oak trees around the park perimeter.
- Boost the economic success of surrounding businesses while respecting and enhancing the site’s history.
- Provide human comfort to encourage users to stay longer in the park by providing restrooms and food amenities.
- The 28 historic oak trees preserved on-site are over 100 years old. They line the perimeter and entrance of the park.
- The park features 40,000 sf of turf, providing open green space for 500 programs annually including yoga, movie nights, and craft shows.
- An additional paved open plaza on the square’s east side serves as a welcoming space for community activities, including farmers’ markets and performances.
- Throughout the park, seat walls and stationary benches are strategically placed to offer clear views of the open green space.
- Light fixtures embedded in the granite seat walls direct and protect visitors in evening hours.
- Distinct areas called “Grove Rooms” encourage people of all ages to play and explore. These outdoor rooms are designed to be functional and long-lasting, each featuring a unique structure. They are separate from the walkways but easy to access. In one room, there is a long stone table designed for community events, where people gather and play chess. In another room, a playscape built around a tree takes visitors around the trunk and up a series of steps before ending in a slide. In a third room, there an artistic oversize chair is surrounded by a granite seat wall. A fourth room has an interactive water feature (splash pad) and a play space for children that promotes nature exploration.
- A park pavilion is located under the trees near the center of the square. The pavilion’s design incorporates architectural elements from the surrounding district, utilizing reclaimed cedar and bluestone to blend into the park’s backdrop. Flexible seating outside the pavilion is covered and shaded, providing a comfortable place to sit and relax. Inside the pavilion is a café operated by a well-established local restaurant group.
- 7 granite cutouts showcase historical quotes that serve as a testament to residents’ deep connection with the park and its rich history, pay tribute to its legacy, and remind visitors of its significance. One quote highlights the fact that Hargett Street, near Moore Square, was the primary business district for the Black community during the Jim Crow era. The street was home to several African American-owned businesses, including Hamlin Drug and Lightner Arcade, a popular venue and hotel that attracted renowned jazz musicians such as Count Basie and Duke Ellington.
Moore Square Park remains a central hub for nonprofit organizations to serve the community, assisting the homeless and those living or working near the park. These organizations offer free exercise programs, food, and special holiday celebrations. Typically, at least one organization operates in the park daily. For instance, SWEAT GYM, a sports organization, conducts free running workouts every Wednesday in the late afternoon. Their mission is to engage the community and the homeless, fostering unity through exercise. Each Wednesday, 60-70 individuals gather at the park to run a 2-mile course. The running event organizer is a psychologist specializing in addiction recovery, with many of her clients being homeless individuals in Moore Square Park. Another organization offers free pizza to anyone in need; it is led by a former homeless individual who used to reside in the park. HER Heaven of Light also visits the park during significant holidays (e.g., Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day) to distribute gifts, mainly to homeless women. When asked why they chose to operate in Moore Square Park, all the nonprofit organizations cited their community connections, the park’s safety, its open design, and its rules prohibiting smoking, sleeping, and fighting. Additionally, the park’s proximity to needy individuals allows them to assist more people in a shorter period.
- Initially, the plan did not include a dog park due to limited space. However, as more people move to downtown Raleigh, the community has expressed the need for a permanent dog park. A temporary dog park has been installed, and in a survey of 126 residents, 95% expressed the desire for the dog park to be a permanent feature. This includes those who do not own dogs and residents living within a 20-minute drive of the park. This indicates that most residents see value in a dog park, even if they are not dog owners or don’t live within walking distance of the park.
- The seven granite cutouts containing quotes that illustrate residents’ attachment to the park were incorporated based on community requests that the park’s redesign reflect its history. However, a survey of 382 visitors revealed that over 62% did not notice the historical quotes.
- The landscape architecture firm encountered difficulty installing new plants under the mature trees, and most plants did not survive. In a survey asking visitors how they thought Moore Square could be improved, 38 of 231 respondents expressed a desire for more flowers and plants in the park.
- During the construction of Moore Square Park, homeless individuals could not stay there for safety reasons. Nonprofit organizations previously provided aid in the park, but the City of Raleigh enforced a law requiring a permit to feed homeless individuals during the construction when the park was closed. This led to protests by nonprofit organizations, with 500 protestors urging the City Council to address the issue. In response, the City opened the nearby Salvation Army warehouse during the park construction, but it wasn’t sufficient to meet the homeless population’s needs. Consequently, the City invested $10.5 million after the park was completed to purchase and renovate a state-of-the-art homeless shelter with various facilities. This experience emphasized the importance of early collaboration with nonprofits to address the homeless population’s needs before park construction begins.
Furniture: Landscape Forms / Studio 431 and Vermont Stone Art
Drainage/Erosion: ACO Polymer Products, Inc., ADS, Hancor and Nyloplast
Fences/Gates/Walls: Asheboro Machine Shop, Inc., Louis E. Page, Inc. and Vermont Stone Art
Lumber/Decking/Edging: Fibergrate, Neenah Foundry Company, Osmose, Inc., Robi Decking, and Trex Company, Inc.
Play Structure: Asheboro Machine Shop, Inc., Creative Playscapes, Fibergrate, Louis E. Page, Inc, Massey & Harris, Osmose, Inc., Robi Decking, and Trex Company, Inc.
Water Management/Amenities: Crystal Fountains and Watts
Soils: Stalite and Wade Moore Equipment
Vegetation: Charlie’s Creek Nursery, Classic Groundcover, Hunter Tree, Jerico Farms, Low Falls Nursery, Manorview Nursery, McLamb Nursery and Sampson Nursery
Hardscape: Access Products, Inc., North Carolina Granite Corporation, Organic-Lock, Skyrock Construction, LLC, Tensar, Vermont Stone Art, and Wake Stone Corporation
Lighting and Electrical: BEGA, Crystal Fountains, Ecosense, Hubbell, Louis Poulsen, Lumenpulse Group, Meltric Corporation, NOVA Pole Industries, Inc. and Selux
Landscape Architect, Civil Engineer, Architect, Environmental Graphic Designer: Sasaki
Client: City of Raleigh
General Contractor: American South General Contractors
Site Subcontractor: Carolina Civilworks, Inc.
Landscape Subcontractor: Ruppert Landscape
Concrete Subcontractor: Skyrock Construction, LLC
Water Feature Subcontractor: Southern Aquatics
Electrical Subcontractor: System Electric Corporation
Public Artist: Brad J Goldberg
Cost Estimation: Daedalus Projects
MEP Engineer, Security Design, Fire Protection Engineer: Dewberry
Certified Arborist: The F.A. Bartlett Tree Expert Company
Water Feature Designer: Fluidity Design Consultants
Historic Preservation: Hanbury
Lighting Designer: HLB Lighting Design
Governance & Programming: HR&A
Architectural Specifications: Kalin Associates
Local Civil Engineer: Kimley-Horn
Local Landscape Architect: Kofi Boone
Soil Scientist: Landis
Fire Suppression: Priest Engineering
Food Service Design: Ricca Design Studios
Landscape Specifications: Rico Associates
Structural Engineer: RSE Associates
Play Consultant: Site Masters
Cultural Landscape Review: TCLF
Role of the Landscape Architect
The landscape architect played a crucial role in various aspects of the project. They acted as the prime consultant, led community outreach events, developed the park’s conceptual design in collaboration with the client, and oversaw design development through construction documentation. Additionally, they provided oversight during construction administration. Working alongside certified arborists, the landscape architect ensured the well-being of the mature trees surrounding Moore Square. They also collaborated with a local soil scientist to ensure appropriate soil blends and amendments for the central lawn panels, plant bed areas, and areas near the existing mature trees.