A new major public park honoring Mobile’s Mardi Gras heritage is on track to be completed by next summer, according to City of Mobile officials.
The city hopes to transform a large piece of vacant downtown green space into what could be a popular public gathering spot during Mardi Gras parades and other downtown events. The new park is hoped to be much like the popular and iconic parks and markets in New Orleans and Charleston.
City officials are progressing with the first phase of the nearly $5 million park project at the county-owned downtown site that long housed the county’s past courthouses. The property is in a visible location next to the History Museum of Mobile, Fort Conde, the Gulf Coast Exploreum and Government Plaza.
The project’s first phase includes a $2.5 million first phase to oversee the leveling of the park’s surface and the construction of retaining walls, extra parking, sidewalks, lighting and other features.
Nearly $1 million for the first phase has been privately financed through the Hearin-Chandler Foundation. The contribution will go towards including Mardi Gras-related statues and other markers linking Mobile’s history to the festival that draws hundreds of thousands of people to downtown every February.
The second phase, to cost around $2 million, is proposed to include the creation of a public pavilion and an enclosed marketplace. City officials have said they are seeking private funding to support the second phase that is inspired from the historic French Market in New Orleans and the Charleston City Market.
The park is expected to open as early as spring 2016.