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Downtown Park Project

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What is the Downtown Park?

19 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.

Overall Park Map-a

Featured areas of the Park:

  • Performance Pavilion
  • Bark Bar
  • Dog Park
  • Academy Street Plaza
  • Children's Bluffs
  • Towne Square
  • Park Street Courts
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           Plaza2  DTP -8

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
  • 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.

Downtown Cary Park Master Plan

With great excitement and anticipation the Cary Town Council unanimously adopted the Downtown Cary Park Master Plan on March 14, 2019. The plan, developed by the Office of James Burnett Landscape Architecture (OJB), is the result of many months of effort and considerable public input. You can read the Downtown Cary Park Master Plan Report in its entirety here 


The plan also calls for two food and beverage facilities within the Downtown Park, four interactive water features, and four restrooms. 

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, storytime programs and movies. The goal is to generate activity in the Park that will energize Downtown Cary.

The plan calls for design to begin in May of 2019 and be completed in 2020. Construction of the Park is expected to begin in 2021 with completion in 2023.

Project Update: Fall 2019 

We have completed five months of schematic design. We are in the process of hiring a general manager position to manage the Downtown Park. Staff toured five urban parks in three different cities to gain a better understanding of the issues with managing downtown parks.

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


Recap of July 2018 Community Workshop  DTP-Presentation-webGraphics-webheader

The public enjoyed an interactive evening sharing their vision during the kick off of Phase II citizen input workshop. With the guidance and feedback taken from the workshop, we’ll make this an extraordinary destination — the soul of Cary and a reflection of you.

The Phase II survey is closed, and we thank the Cary community for providing more than 1,200 responses during the 6-week survey period.

If you couldn't join us for our November 27 presentation, watch it in full below. 

Project Update: Summer 2018

The Town of Cary has hired the Office of James Burnett (OJB Landscape Architecture), an award-winning landscape architecture firm with national urban parks and development experience. Their past project experience includes Klyde Warren Park, Dallas TX, Levy Park in Houston TX, and LeBauer Park, Greensboro, NC. The Town is currently working with the OJB team on the project schedule. Their consultant team includes:


Doug McRainey
Director - Parks, Recreation & Cultural Resources
Town of Cary
(919) 469-4066