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Freedom Park

Freedom Park is designed to reflect the best of all worlds and serve all people. Visit any of its five different entrances and you’ll find a diverse selection of attractions, including playgrounds, walking paths, wildflowers, ponds, tennis courts, basketball courts/soccer fields and picnic shelters. The park includes a garden of gently sloping hills, forests and meadows, art sculptures and the most unique topography ever found in any Charlotte park.

Freedom Park is located on the site of First Ward Park, a project that was planned back in the 1960s but never came to fruition. It sits at the southern end of Uptown Charlotte between Freedom Drive and Hawthorne Lane along North Davidson Street.

This large, 843-acre park opened in 2004 and took two decades to come to fruition. It is built on the site of a former textile mill that burned in 1969. At one point, the land was going to be used for a waste incinerator, but that plan was defeated. Then-mayor Harvey Gantt had planned to build a city hall on the site. A group of civic leaders made a last-ditch attempt to save the land for a park and eventually succeeded. The Charlotte Center City Partners, composed of community leaders, purchased the land.

The park’s centerpiece is the large “Village” sculpture by Julie Scott donate by Matthew Rolston and his mother, Nancy, in honor of Nancy’s late husband. It features 10 five-story buildings that create a village scene with a water fountain in the middle. The park also includes Charlotte’s first urban dog park.

Other attractions:

Note: Be aware that there is a $2 charge for parking. The fee is accepted at all the meters along North Davidson Street from North College Street to Hawthorne Lane. It is also accepted at the three parking garages located just south of the park on North Davidson Street, north of Hawthorne Lane, and on the corner of North Davidson Street and East 4th Street.

The Freedom Park dog park is designed to be a safe place for dogs to exercise and socialize. The park features mowed grass, two fountains, benches, dog waste bags on-site, a doggie water bowl and clean-up stations. It also features a natural area that has the planting of native plants and trees as well as habitats for wildlife. A special dog area allows no-dog areas for people who prefer to enjoy nature without their pets.

The park is sponsored by the Mecklenburg Dog Society.

Freedom Park is open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. It is closed on Christmas Day, Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.

There are many events held at Freedom Park throughout the year. Many are sponsored by the Freedom Park Foundation.

Each year a tree in the park is dedicated to someone who has made a positive contribution to our community. Two trees, one at the main entrance and one at the dog park entrance, have been dedicated to Mayor Richard Vinroot and former mayor Harvey Gantt, respectively, for their efforts in ensuring that this land became a park.

Freedom Park is featured on the cover of the album “Charlotte City Skyline” by John P. Peters.

In 2006 Freedom Park was featured as a location in “The Real Housewives of New York City”.

The site of the park was used for filming in the movie “Astonishing X-Men”, based on Marvel’s comic book series of a similar names.

In 2007, Freedom Park was chosen as the site for the running of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon’s 10k course.
The race was held on October 21, 2007, with a field of 20,000 runners. Mary Wittenberg, president and CEO of the NYRR and Dick Pickett, president and COO coordinated the race in Charlotte.

The park hosts a wide variety of birds year round. The park is home to the following wildlife:

The Freedom Park Wildlife Observation Tower was erected in 2014 and is open year-round. The structure rises 33 feet above the ground and offers a beautiful view of Freedom Park, Charlotte’s skyline and more than 50% of the species found in Mecklenburg County. Constructed by AbTech Industries, Inc. (Chapel Hill) the tower consists of seven octagonal-shaped cages constructed from marine-grade stainless steel chain link fence mesh containing 1/4″ holes.

“Freedom Park is recognized as having one of the most ingenious public spaces in the country. It provides a place for people to gather and to connect with each other, build community and celebrate our rich history.”

“USA Today” chose Freedom Park as one of the top ten parks in the U.S.

Freedom Park is also home to a miniature train operated by Steam Railroading Inc., which operates under contract with RREM. The park is also home to the Savannah Children’s Museum. It includes several playgrounds, a carousel, and an amphitheater. It also has a large video screen for hosting concerts.

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