The Opening Ceremony for First Ward Park took place on December 8, 2015, and featured remarks from people who were instrumental in the park's creation, a ribbon cutting ceremony, tours of the park and songs by local school children. School children enjoyed recess at the park during the day, families visited, and children played in the fountains. The events of the day came to a close with the holiday lights lighting up First Ward Park for the very first time.
Shadley Associates won this invited national competition to design a park that will attract visitors from greater Charlotte and beyond. One of four major park spaces in downtown Charlotte, this entirely new 4.6 acre park is well connected to Center City, the First Ward Neighborhood and the University of North Carolina Charlotte. The park also benefits from an existing on-site light rail station, restaurants, offices, the First Ward Elementary School, and ImagineON, a children’s library and performing arts center which currently attracts over 500,000 people annually. The park design uses granite seat walls and many native trees and shrubs to frame an open central lawn. The granite walls embody the famous geology of the region and give definition to the park’s many garden sub-spaces. There are numerous entrances into the park, a full walking circuit around it, and many paths through it. Park features include two major public fountains, an arbor, public art and areas for diverse programs. The City enthusiastically welcomes First Ward Park to its collection of major public open spaces.