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200 N Davie Street

Greensboro, NC 27401

info@greensborodowntownparks.org

336-373-7533

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Greensboro Downtown Parks Inc. is a non-profit organization in partnership with the City of Greensboro, Center City Park and LeBauer Park. The mission of GDPI is to serve as the executive management of Greensboro’s downtown parks, focusing on public activation, maintenance, financial well-being and overall vitality.

history + construction

the background

Carolyn Weill LeBauer of Greensboro, who passed away in March 2012, made a bequest to The Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro with instructions that the money be used to build a spectacular park for the people of Greensboro.

The Community Foundation brought in the country’s top experts on park and urban landscape design to plan a fully programmed downtown destination offering events and activities for residents, families and visitors. Working closely with City of Greensboro staff and community volunteers, the team received community input on suggested features for the park and crafted a space that is now the heart of the cultural district in downtown Greensboro. 

LeBauer park is the result of a powerful public-private partnership between The Community Foundation and the City of Greensboro, working with local stakeholders and national experts in urban landscape design and park programming. OJB Landscape Architecture, winner of several awards for its innovative open space projects, designed LeBauer Park in close collaboration with Biederman Redevelopment Ventures, a leader in the creation, redevelopment and programming of parks and public spaces.

Click on the gallery below to witness the park's evolution from its groundbreaking on November 19, 2014 through opening day, August 8th 2016! 

about carolyn + maurice lebauer

Source: (LeBauer Family Submission)

According to her family, Carolyn Weill LeBauer was very proud to be native of Greensboro and felt rooted in her beloved city and state. She was a dynamic and active woman of her time. In her charming Southern style, she was gracious, hospitable, entertaining and highly opinionated. She was a very bright and curious woman who had many arenas of achievement in the appropriate domestic skills valued to women of the day. Born in 1915, she was 8 years younger than her charming and dedicated husband, but in partnership they certainly were on equal footing.

She golfed and fished with “Maury,” travelled and volunteered with him, and both of them went to Afghanistan in the late 1970s to see how his surgical skills could improve the lot of the very primitive medical culture there, in terms of our skills available for surgical intervention. While Doctors Without Borders is more common today, in those times it didn’t exist, nor did anesthetic nor intravenous techniques. Our children loved to be regaled with the improvisations required by both of them to meet needs of the people existing in such dire poverty.

 

Carolyn’s skills and resourcefulness developed young; she was a chef extraordinaire and all who had dined at her always beautifully set table were introduced to quail and its fixings – as only she could do.

She truly had a “green thumb.” Her camellias were the envy of anyone who admired these exquisite flowers and her gardens a plethora of color and variations of green spaces. One immediately felt the calmness walking through her various paths that twisted to different parts of the garden, and the birds adored her always-filled feeders, which one could see outside the windows of her home that all looked open to the gardens in the backyard.

Carolyn was generous of spirit. She was very involved in the volunteer aspects of assisting in the war effort. Maury served in the North African Theatre in Tripoli, while Carolyn and many other women rolled bandages, knitted blankets, gathered needed accessories to send to the many men overseas nobly serving our country, included her beloved Maury. Maury often stated that he felt that being able to serve his country during World War II was the outstanding contribution of his entire life. Carolyn didn’t agree with this, but Maury was proud of this “accomplishment’ to the end.

 

Carolyn was gregarious and outgoing and love giving and going to parties. She was very quick-witted and bright and well-informed, so to have conversations with her was always a complete enjoyment. She was an avid book reader and belonged to book and discussion clubs and always had much to contribute.  

 

“Dr. Maurice,” as he was known to many was a gentleman. He had been Chief of Surgery at Cone Hospital, and he and his brother Dr. Sidney had a remarkably deep and respectful relationship and practiced in the same office their entire lives. The nuns at St. Leo loved him and wrote to him always throughout his military service in North Africa. He and Dr. Sidney cared for all in their office – at a time when segregation was in full swing, their waiting room was always integrated and their philosophy was that everyone must be taken care for.

 

That Carolyn would leave her estate to her beloved city is no surprise. That there will now be a park bearing their names is the most wonderful and appropriate way to have summed the meaning of their lives. A place to gather all people, to serve Greensboro, to facilitate the enjoyment and joy of others, and to be a meeting place for the fourlegged, old, young, those in need of solace, those in need of vitality and growth – what a truly remarkable legacy.

 

This wonderful park is better than any eulogy, obituary or biography. It is a living expression of the souls of two people whose lives intertwined yet maintained their striking individuality. What an honor this is to the meaning of “life well lived.”

the background

Though German and Quaker immigrants began settling in Guilford County as early as the 1740s, the legislative act creating Greensboro was not passed until 1807. Forty-two acres of land were purchased, and in 1809 the county seat was officially moved to Greensboro.  The original plan for the town consisted of 3 streets running east-west for 3 blocks and 3 streets running north-south for 3 blocks. The future site of Center City Park was in the northeast corner of this 1809 town plan. Friendly Avenue was then called Gaston Street.

The park site is seen again below, this time in 1989.  Residential structures on North Davie Street have largely been replaced by parking lots.  The Greensboro Historical Museum is seen in the center of the photo, now minus the bell tower.

Image courtesy of Carol W. Martin/Greensboro Historical Museum Collection.

From Greensboro’s early history, Elm Street was lined with commercial buildings, but North Davie Street remained primarily residential until the end of World War II.  In this 1940 photo, the site of Center City Park is in the lower center, on the left side of Davie Street. The bell tower of the First Presbyterian Church building, which today houses the Greensboro Historical Museum, can be seen in the center of the photo.

After removing the existing structures and parking lots and grading the property, an Interim Park was installed to allow visitors to experience the site as an open space and imagine what features would make for the best urban park.   On March 30, 2005 a public campaign was launched to raise the funding necessary to complete the park. The BB&T hot air balloon has only visited the park once. So far. 

Most building owners on North Elm Street kept up with the times by remodeling their store fronts.  By 2003, as the Center City Park design process began, the building on the northeast corner of Elm Street and Friendly Avenue, seen below, was indeed thoroughly modern.  On August 7, 2003 a “Start the Park” ribbon cutting invited the community to come together on the future park site and help cut 1,500 feet of ribbon encircling the site.

The Interim Park opened in November 2003, and its first public event was the Festival of Lights in early December.  A wireless fidelity network debuted in the park in July 2004, enabling visitors to send and receive e-mail and surf the internet from the park.  Events as large as the weekly Beach Music Concert Series, shown at left, and as small as book club meetings took place during the 17 months of the Interim Park.

the construction

Land acquisition for Center City Park began in 2002.  Demolition of existing buildings and site preparation took place in 2003. 

In March 2003, Project for Public Spaces conducted a public educational presentation in Greensboro to introduce concepts associated with successful urban parks.  For the remainder of 2003, Downtown Greensboro, Inc. and the Center City Park Committee facilitated 45 community workshops to show park elements and determine which park features and activities citizens preferred.  The park, in an interim design, opened in November 2003, permitting citizens to begin using the space and imagining what features they most wanted in the permanent installation. 

 

In March 2004, the Center City Park Committee issued a nationwide request for proposals from top park designers. From 29 landscape architecture firms responding, the Halvorson Design Partnership, Inc. of Boston was selected.

Local design firm J. Hyatt Hammond Associates assisted with on-site supervision, and Rentenbach Constructors, Inc. served as general contractor. Don Euser Waterarchitecture, Inc. of Ontario was selected to design the fountain.  ETM Associates, LLC assisted in developing strategies for operating and managing the park, a public/private partnership of the City of GreensboroAction Greensboro, and other private-sector park supporters.  

Center City Park cost more than $12 million to build, with land acquisition accounting for $6 million and design and construction adding $5.5 million.  

In September of 2005 construction fences were erected and site preparation began.

Then, Construction....

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