Open Space at Allegra Westbrooks Regional Library Opens to the Public

Published on May 07, 2024

Group photo at the open space at the Allegra Westbrooks Regional Library.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (May 7, 2024) – The Beatties Ford community, Charlotte Urban Design Center, and John S. and James L. Knight Foundation have come together to create a place where patrons and passersby can meet, sit, and enjoy innovative art and programming.

The community open space at Allegra Westbrooks Regional Library was revealed to the public on Tuesday morning, May 7, where city and county officials, library representatives and Knight Foundation celebrated the occasion with remarks and a ribbon cutting.

“I am so excited to see this beautiful gathering space come to life in one of our Corridors of Opportunity,” said Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles. “This project underscores the importance of listening to and engaging with the community and the significant impact that can be had, especially with support from our partners.”

The project is part of the city’s Corridors of Opportunity initiative to invest strategically in six corridors throughout Charlotte. In 2021, Beatties Ford Road corridor residents worked with the city to create a playbook that would identify the community’s needs. The playbook called for several placemaking projects to transform underutilized spaces along the corridor, including the open space surrounding the library.


The desk and seated area outside the Allegra Westbrooks Regional Library.

"The mission of Charlotte Mecklenburg Library is to improve lives and build a stronger community," said Charlotte Mecklenburg Library CEO Marcellus Turner. "This beautiful open space project is another symbol of that as it will stand as a welcoming gathering place for individuals and families alike to relax, reflect and enjoy shared experiences for years to come."

The project was made possible by a $225,000 Knight Foundation grant awarded to the city to make improvements at the library and the intersection at Beatties Ford Road and LaSalle Street.

“In partnership with the city and Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, we are thrilled to continue to support resident-centered development in the corridor that contributes to the walkability and livability of the Historic West End,” said Charles Thomas, Knight Foundation’s Director in Charlotte.

The city’s Urban Design Center led engagement efforts with area residents to gather feedback that would inspire the project’s final design. The concept is built around a signature tree — a 16-year-old Nuttall oak tree transplanted from the banks of the Catawba River. A deck has been built around the tree with fixed and movable seating, and the space will also feature a mixed-media mural and a kinetic sculpture. A new pathway has been installed to connect Holly Avenue to the library’s front door.