Knight Foundation Invests $225,000 to Enhance Open Space along Beatties Ford Road Corridor
Scierra Bratton
9/9/2021
Allegra Westbrooks

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Sept. 9, 2021) – The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has invested $225,000 in the City of Charlotte to enhance outdoor open spaces at the Allegra Westbrooks Regional Library on Beatties Ford Road and near the Beatties Ford Road and LaSalle Street intersection. The enhancements will improve underutilized space and create casual and inclusive places where community members can meet and enjoy innovative art and programming, such as immersive gardens, interactive games and more.

During a community-led effort to create a placemaking and public space playbook for the Beatties Ford Road corridor, area residents identified the Allegra Westbrooks Regional Library's open space as a top choice for a placemaking project.

"On behalf of the people of Beatties Ford Road, I'd like to thank Knight Foundation for this generous gift in support of our revitalization work along this corridor," said Charlotte City Council Member and District 2 representative Malcolm Graham. "This funding will go a long way in creating and developing community enhancements that will benefit many local families."

New placemaking elements may include landscaping and a stormwater garden, an outdoor classroom, art, seating options and a connection to the adjacent bus stop.

"Public spaces play a key role in building more engaged and connected communities," said Charles Thomas, director for Knight's Charlotte program. "Knight's investment in the City of Charlotte will expand accessible public spaces and amenities in the Historic West End designed by and centering residents, ensuring a more connected and vibrant corridor." 

The open spaces will be cocreated and designed by community members, the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library and the City of Charlotte. The library will continue to maintain and program its space.

"The Allegra Westbrooks Regional Library is excited to be chosen by the community as a destination of choice along the Beatties Ford Road corridor. We are equally excited to bring the magic that happens inside the library to the outside and activate this space," said Hannah Terrell, the library's regional branch manager. "We are thrilled to have the opportunity to solidify our role as a community asset and corridor anchor and are beyond grateful to The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation for their generous support to help us actuate the desires of the Historic West End."

Timeline and History

  • January 2021 – The city launched the Beatties Ford Road Placemaking and Public Space Playbook process as part of the Corridors of Opportunity program. Additional Corridors of Opportunity projects underway in the area include Access Charlotte, Alternatives to Violence and the Beatties Ford Road Parallel Bike Boulevard.
  • February 2021 – Residents identified and ranked placemaking projects along the corridor during the Beatties Ford Road Placemaking and Public Space Community Workshop.
  • April 2021 – The City of Charlotte completed the final Beatties Ford Road Placemaking and Public Space Playbook.
  • May 2021 – The city launched placemaking projects at the Vest Water Treatment Plant, on Tate Street, and at the Beatties Ford Road and La Salle Street intersection.
  • July 2021 – The city received a $200,000 Lowe's 100 Hometowns grant to transform open space on Tate Street and to honor the Ritz theater. The movie theater was the last built exclusively for African Americans in Charlotte and sat on the Tate Street site before it was demolished. 
  • August 2021 – The City of Charlotte received $225,000 from Knight Foundation to enhance open space at the Allegra Westbrooks Regional Library and the Beatties Ford Road and LaSalle Street intersection.

The City of Charlotte continues to collaborate with partners such as the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, business owners and residents to ensure all community members and visitors benefit from the generous gifts of the Knight Foundation.