Council hears latest plans for pit

Jun. 15, 2014 @ 07:06 PM

Local architect Peter Freeman says potential investors are behind one of the top Ignite High Point priorities.
Freeman is involved with a group working on a plan to develop “the pit” — a city-owned parking area across from the High Point Depot downtown — into a public gathering place.
“We have two potential investors in this project,” Freeman told the High Point City Council during a recent committee meeting. “We have somebody that is interested in doing it really well.”
The council has approved money to install fencing and make other basic improvements to the area, but the city is having difficulty reaching agreements with surrounding property owners over access to the site, officials said.
Freeman showed the council drawings for how the site could be used to accommodate a stage and food trucks.
“We want to see arts festivals, crafts festivals and have businesses incubate there, rather than just use it for hosting events,” he said. “We’re working on getting a proposal in your hands in the next 45 days.”
The site has a working elevator that could improve access between the two levels. There is also a building on the property that could take deliveries and serve as a dressing room for performers, Freeman said.
The city is considering leasing the space, and Councilman Jason Ewing suggested soliciting proposals from potential users of the site.
Freeman also touched on another Ignite High Point priority — the library plaza idea, which also is under study. The council has endorsed a modified version of what Freeman and other Ignite supporters want for the project so more parking near the library would be preserved.
Freeman and others serving on a committee that is working on the project will review the latest council discussions on the matter as they proceed.
“I think the main issue that came out of the (public meetings) is that we have an important civic building, and we’d like to give it more dignity than a standard parking lot,” he said.