Black Lives Matter mural plaza may close next week

Charlotte City Council will vote on Monday whether to approve city staff’s recommendation to re-open Tryon Street between 3rd and 4th streets.

Charlotte city staff says a block of Tryon Street, home to uptown Charlotte’s Black Lives Matter mural, should reopen starting Tuesday. City Council members will vote during Monday’s regular business meeting whether to approve the staff’s recommendation. 

Why it matters: Charlotte’s department of planning, design and development commissioned 17 artists to create the mural days after Charlotte protests began in response to the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. It quickly became the backdrop for protestors marching against police brutality and visitors admiring the art. When the city closed Tryon Street to vehicles between Third and Fourth streets for people to safely view the installation, it drew both praise and complaints from residents.   

City staff studied the Tryon Street Pilot Plaza through Sept. 30 to better understand the impacts of the block closure, the mural installation, programming and other changes on city services. According to the study’s report, the Black Lives Matter mural represents positive community collaboration, but several businesses expressed how the street closure impacted their operations and revenues. 

For months, uptown Charlotte was almost a ghost town due to the coronavirus pandemic. Now, the city is helping businesses bounce back through a series of “Survive and Thrive” programs under its Open for Business initiative. Taiwo Jaiyeoba, assistant city manager and director of planning, design and development, will present the recommendation to council members to reopen the block next week in support of the programs.

What happens to the mural? Staff proposes to allow the mural to fade over time and incorporate opportunities with artists into future projects. Collaboration with Center City Partners will explore the possibilities of increased programming of the corridor in the future, including occasional closures on certain weekends to pedestrian activities.

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Watch the virtual meeting on Monday at 5 p.m. on the city’s Facebook page, YouTube channel or the government channel on TV.

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