What's New with the Downtown Park?

You'll see construction has started on the Academy Park development that is adjacent to the Park property. We're looking forward to having them as neighbors! The design of the park is nearly done and construction is a little less than a year away from starting.

Here's a sneak peek of the latest refinements to the Park design!

  • Picture8-web
  • Children's Area - Birds
  • Academy Plaza Market
  • Bark Bar
  • Academy Plaza Outside
  • Park Street Courts Arena
  • Park Street Courts
  • Towne Square

What is the Downtown Park?

Nineteen years in the making, the Cary Downtown Park will total seven acres in size and will be centrally located in Downtown Cary surrounded by Walker, Academy, Park and Walnut Streets. The park will feature a “great lawn” and unique, tiered water feature. The lawn will be fronted by a pavilion and interspersed around the lawn and will be a series of unique spaces, or “rooms,” linked by paved walking trails. Additional features include performance places, market spaces, public art incorporated into the landscape, food and beverage facilities, a children’s play area, interactive water features, a dog play area, and walkways for strolling and relaxing.

A key feature of the Downtown Cary Park is the amount of proposed programming, including art exhibitions, arts and crafts classes, performances and concerts, cardio and fitness classes, book clubs, story time programs and movies. The goal is to generate activity in the Park that will energize Downtown Cary.

Featured Areas of the Park

  • Performance Pavilion
  • Bark Bar
  • Dog Park
  • Gathering Garden
  • Academy Street Plaza
  • Children's Play Area - The Nest
  • Towne Square
  • Park Street Courts
  • DTP - 4
  • DTP -8
  • DTP -9
  • artist's rendering of citizens using the splash feature at the downtown park

Project Update: Summer 2020

Downtown Park Project Nears End of Design Phase

The final design of the Cary Downtown Park is nearly done and staff is working on developing construction documents. A General Manager was hired in the late winter to manage the park and participate in the final design development.

The 2019 Shaping Cary's Tomorrow Bonds passed last fall and we anticipate bid award in winter of 2021, construction starting in summer of 2021, and dedication in the fall of 2023.

Project Background

Downtown Park Fountain

With the approval of the 2012 Community Bonds, an initial master plan for the Downtown Park was completed. As defined by the master plan, the Downtown Park was recommended to be a signature seven-acre park defined by South Academy Street, East Park Street and Walker Street along its eastern border. The town completed the first phase of the park in March of 2017, featuring a large fountain, outdoor performance space, an outdoor games room and open lawn areas.  With the Town Square approximately one acre in size, this left six acres remaining for Phase 2 of the park. 

Project Timeline

  • 2023: Park Opens in Summer
  • 2021: Construction begins
  • 2021: Groundbreaking event
  • May 2020: Final Park design is being finalized
  • October 2019:  Shaping Cary’s Tomorrow Bond Vote Passes
  • May 2019:  Start of Schematic Design Drawings
  • March 2019:  Master Plan complete and approved by Council
  • July 2018: Town holds Community Workshop to gather input from citizens. Survey posted online.
  • May 2018: Council approves the selection of OJB Landscape Architecture for the updated Master Plan of the park.
  • May 2018: Construction of Cary Regional Library and the Park deck begins.
  • January-March 2017: Town Square and Academy Street improvements are complete
  • September 2016: Council approved the Library and Parking deck design and its relationship the town square. Staff was tasked to create a process that would promote the downtown park as a remarkable destination for visitors and citizens alike. 
  • June-October 2016: Construction on Academy Street improvements and Town Square of the Park begin.
  • August 2015: The Cary Regional Library and Parking Deck locations are established on the park block adjacent to the town square and Cary Arts.  Council expresses interest in having the Deck ‘wrapped.’ There was no developer interest at that time for development.
  • September 2014: The town square design plans are 65% complete. Council requests an updated master plan of the downtown park to know the direction of the remainder of the downtown park as a whole that includes future phases and estimates for inclusion in future budgets. 
  • February 2014: Council establishes that the Park will be 7 acres.  With that decision, development opportunities around Walnut/Walker and Park/Walker were identified.
  • July 2013: Council adopted the Downtown Park Master Plan and design of Town Square begins.
  • 2001: Town Council approved the Town Center Area Plan including a proposal for a Town Center Park as the visual and cultural focal point for downtown. The park serves the higher-density development, nearby neighborhoods, and providing opportunities for special cultural and community events.