Lease redo reduces money needed for N. Carolina Freedom Park

North Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina’s top elected statewide leaders have agreed to rework lease terms on some state property that a group will turn into a park honoring the contributions of African Americans to the state.

The Council of State — comprised of Gov. Roy Cooper, Lt. Gov. Dan Forest and eight other elected officials — voted on Tuesday to amend the lease.

Less money will have to be raised than previously mandated for Freedom Park, which will be located between the Legislative Building and the Executive Mansion in Raleigh.

The 2012 lease required a nonprofit to raise at least $5 million in public and private funds in seven years, with $1.5 million of that set aside for perpetual maintenance, according to a document presented to council members.

The altered lease now directs $3.2 million to be raised by early 2022, with the park completion set for 2025.

The nonprofit assembling the park says $1.7 million already has been raised, the document said. Another $1.5 million is sitting in the budget bill that was vetoed last year.

A state commission last fall approved the park design, which includes inspirational quotes engraved on walls along walkways that lead to a “Beacon of Freedom” sculpture.

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