2016 Best Outdoor Space Improvement
Bessemer City, NC
Centennial Park was a 3,000 square foot green space created in 1993 in the heart of downtown Bessemer City. As the number of special events increased in recent years, downtown needed a more versatile space. The Centennial Park Revitalization Project involved reclaiming under-utilized city property and acquiring abandoned commercial structures adjacent to the park that were no longer viable for redevelopment. The project tripled the size of the park to 9,000 square feet and became more functional by adding a large covered stage, seating, lighting, electricity and local artwork.
A collaborative effort of the City of Bessemer City and the Bessemer City Downtown Development Association, the project was designed by McGill Associates and built by Andy Lutz Construction. The City funded the $316,831 project, which started in September of 2015 and was completed in July of 2016. Local artists were asked by open invitation to submit artwork which is now displayed with historic photos of the city along one wall. The Gaston County-based makers of Sundrop soft drink recreated a series of historic bottle cap plaques which accent the other wall.
Since completing the project, Bessemer City has seen increased interest in nearby retail and commercial properties. Central Drug, which shares a wall with the park area, now offers extended hours. The art installation draws visitors who generate additional foot traffic for businesses. Local organizations have been requesting to use the park for a variety of activities, prompting the City to establish a public use policy for it. The transformation of the space has given property owners and businesses hope that positive change can occur in downtown Bessemer City.
The NC Department of Commerce - NC Main Street and Rural Planning congrats the City of Bessemer City, McGill Associates, Andy Lutz Construction and Bessemer City Downtown Development on this award. Thanks for your investment in your community.