By: Cedric Blue II
August 8, 2016 marked the beginning of a new era in downtown Greensboro. The first to be completed in a series of major construction projects changing the face of downtown Greensboro, LeBauer Park opened to the public with one of the largest group ribbon cuttings that I have ever witnessed. That diverse crowd of excited locals simultaneously cutting the ribbon would foreshadow one of the most dynamic and important features of the park; its ability to bring people together.
Art lovers will tell you how gorgeous the Janet Echelman sculpture “Where We Met” is when it is lit at night above the Price/Bryan Performance Place. Kids are prone to gush over the Children’s Garden and its innovative features that make it one of the most unique play spaces in the county. And dog lovers will tell you what a welcome addition the Downtown Greensboro Animal Hospital Dog Park is to the area. However, the most impressive aspect of LeBauer to me is its patronage.
As a born and raised Greensboro local I can say with a fair amount of certainty that the crowds flocking to the park daily are some of the most diverse that I have ever seen at a public meeting space in Greensboro. People of all ages, races, and walks of life not only share the space but interact with one another on many different levels.
All of this has given me so much more context for the park’s artistic centerpiece, “Where We Met.” Echelman’s interpretation of the converging NC rail lines that gave us the nickname “The Gate City” is a macro concept happening on a micro level right now in Greensboro at LeBauer Park. Not even two weeks old, the park is one of the strongest points of convergence in Greensboro. It is my sincere hope that this sense of unity and camaraderie continues to flourish in the park and carries on to the different other projects being completed downtown in the coming years.
And by the way, if for some unthinkable reason you’re not impressed thus far, keep your eyes on the park this winter. Chatter on the line has it that there’s a strong chance of snow…..