The design process for the Rail Trail Symphony project started yesterday, after Charlotte Center City Partners (CCCP) was announced as one of 50 grant winners in the national $1 Million KaBOOM! Play Everywhere Challenge.
This competition supports projects in cities meant to make play easy and accessible for kids and families in the U.S. This is part of the national nonprofit KaBOOM!’s mission to add balanced and active play to children’s lifestyles, particularly those in poverty.
A $20,000 grant was given to CCCP to implement the Rail Trail Symphony (rendering shown above), which was pitched as “a 7′ x 29′ patch of grass (that) will be transformed into a lively place for self-expression and exercise of the mind and body. Rail Trail Symphony will be an installation of colorful, musical instruments that offers an exciting interlude in daily routines and bridges social divides by encouraging collaborative jam sessions with neighbors.”
By early December, the Symphony area will take over a grassy space by the New Bern LYNX Station, where there is also a B-station. It will include seating options as well as a free-expression area.
“Play and interaction are two of the really foundational goals that we have for the Rail Trail,” said Moira Quinn, senior VP of communications and COO for CCCP.
CCCP’s idea was also inspired by their goal to connect neighborhoods along the Rail Trail, while building on a partnership with the Bethlehem Center’s after-school program to engage students and families with the Rail Trail Initiative. Other partners for the project are The City of Charlotte, South End, Playmore Design Corporation, DRUMSTRONG and ACSM in collaboration with C3 Lab. While the KaBOOM! grant will fund about 80 percent of project costs, these partners are helping CCCP support the remainder.
But CCCP isn’t the only local organization celebrating. Of the 200 challenge finalists, three project designs from Charlotte won a grant. In addition to CCCP’s project, The Konnected Foundation Inc.’s project S.P.A.R.K. (Socialize, Play, Accommodate to Reach Kids) won a grant to add images and art tools to sites like bus stops and parks in neighborhoods along Beatties Ford and Central Avenue. The goal is to engage neighborhood kids and families through art, play and social interaction.
The City of Charlotte won a grant for the project GovPorch, which is a reimagined Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center Plaza that will feature “A Playground for All” with items like porch swings and outdoor bean bags, “A Library Garden” with items like rocking chairs and wall fountains, and “Accessibility and Connection to the Public” with elements like painted stepping stones and fun signage.
It sounds like Charlotte’s about to get a lot more whimsical.