GREENSBORO, N.C. – (June 10, 2016) – The Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro today announced it will officially present the city with the new Carolyn & Maurice LeBauer Park in early August, fulfilling the final wishes of a generous donor whose bequest made the new downtown destination possible.
A formal dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony on the morning of August 8 will kick off a full week of public celebrations, culminating in the lighting of the highly anticipated sculpture Where We Met by Janet Echelman on the evening of August 14.
“We had planned to open the park on July 15, as we previously announced,” said Walker Sanders, president of The Community Foundation. “But Mother Nature has continued to be uncooperative with our construction process. Back-to-back seasons of unusually rainy weather have affected construction of the park. As frustrating as this has been, it is important to us that the park be completely finished and cleared of construction barriers when everyone first gets to enjoy it. It will be worth the extra wait.”
The $10-million LeBauer Park promises to be the heart of an envisioned “cultural district” for Greensboro. It is the result of a bequest by the late Carolyn Weill LeBauer of Greensboro, who left the money to The Community Foundation for the express purpose of creating a dynamic new park for the community. Upon the park’s completion, the Foundation will convey the property to the city.
“The city has been an outstanding partner throughout the process and this historic opportunity for the citizens of Greensboro,” Sanders said. “In fact, Wade Walcutt, the director of the Greensboro Parks and Recreation Department, and Chris Wilson, the assistant city manager, have both been great assets to have on the park’s leadership team. It’s been a tremendous public-private collaboration to make this dream a reality.”
Walcutt agreed. “Our mayor, the City Council, City Manager’s office and entire city team have pitched in to bring the very best to our community and are forever grateful to the philanthropic spirit of Carolyn LeBauer,” Walcutt said.
Immediately upon the park’s opening, scheduled programming, classes and entertainment will begin, said Denise Caruso, executive director of Greensboro Downtown Parks, Inc., the new nonprofit entity that will manage both LeBauer Park and the adjacent Center City Park. “We’re also arranging extra-special entertainment for our first Friday and Saturday nights. We have a great team of community volunteers who are working hard to plan a very memorable week. More details on these activities will be announced once details are confirmed.”
Of particular interest will surely be the installation and lighting of the Echelman sculpture, commissioned to honor the area’s rich textile history. The first permanent, commissioned artwork by The Public Art Endowment at The Community Foundation, Where We Met was supported by the LeBauer bequest and a $1-million grant from The Edward M. Armfield, Sr. Foundation, established by and named for the late textile industrialist.
Expected to be the largest public art installation in the southeast, Where We Met will be an undulating, colorful net hung high above the park’s Great Lawn from four mammoth pylons positioned around the perimeter. The connecting shape from which the net is draped mirrors an 1896 map of N.C. railroad tracks connecting many of the state’s major textile hubs at the time.
While the Echelman sculpture is expected to be installed prior to the park’s opening day, it will not be illuminated at nighttime until a public celebration on August 14, to provide an exciting “grand finale” to the park’s opening week, Sanders said. Echelman is scheduled to attend and participate.
Two on-site cafes scheduled to be open by August 8 will house Noma Food & Co., featuring “fast-casual” Vietnamese and Thai offerings, and Ghassan’s, which has served Mediterranean food in Greensboro since 1975.
To follow the park’s progress and to keep abreast of the most recent opening details, visit Lebauerpark.com or “like” LeBauer Park on Facebook.