City looks to advance ‘pit’ project

May. 03, 2014 @ 02:59 PM

City officials say they may have found a way to make “the pit” a reality.
City building inspectors and insurance adjusters have given the OK to a plan to convert a downtown parking lot and the surrounding area across from the High Point Depot into a public gathering spot.
It will be possible to use chain-link fencing to screen off the unsafe parts of the site to keep the public out of certain areas, said Assistant City Manager Randy McCaslin.
This would fall in line with what Ryan Saunders, who is heading up efforts to develop the site, wants to do there, McCaslin said.
It would cost about $10,000 to install the fencing, he said. The city also is looking at installing lighting at the site.
“We are doing what we need to do to make the pit safe,” McCaslin said.
The project is proposed in the Ignite High Point master plan as a way to “engage the creative spirit” of the younger generation and draw more foot traffic downtown.
The city’s next task is to work out an agreement with the owners of surrounding properties to ensure they have access to the site once the pit is in use.
Saunders wants to lease the site from the city to host concerts, games, artistic endeavors and other events. One of his proposals is to use mobile green spaces made of synthetic grass set on galvanized steel frames that can be moved around the pit area.
City Council members said they want to improve the overall look of the site.
“I’m not totally satisfied with just using chain-link fence because Ryan wants it to look cool,” said Councilwoman Judy Mendenhall. “I think it should be done in such a way that makes it attractive, because other people might want to use it as well.”
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