Axios Charlotte

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January 27, 2024

Hello, Saturday. It's Ashley, who is running another 50K in two weeks.

🌧 Weather: High 67. More rain.

🎈 Happy birthday to Axios Charlotte members Beth Gray and Anne Pipkin.

Today's Smart Brevityℒ️ count is 6135 words β€” a 2Β½-minute read.

1 big thing: β›° Parks are poppin'

Pilot Mountain State Park, about 100 miles north of Charlotte, saw more than 1 million visitors in 2023. Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios

More than 20.1 million people visited North Carolina state parks in 2023, per the North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation.

Why it matters: State parks have been slammed, as Axios' Zachery Eanes wrote, a trend that started during the pandemic when state parks reopened and people flocked to the outdoors.

By the numbers: While it's a 4% increase from 2022, attendance is still shy of the 22.8 million record set in 2021. State parks saw a slight drop in attendance in 2022 as people resumed pre-pandemic activities, Katie Hall, a public information officer for the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation, told Zachery.

  • In 2023, five state parks had at least 1 million visitors: Falls Lake, Fort Fisher and Kerr Lake state recreation areas, and Fort Macon and Pilot Mountain.
  • Jordan Lake State Recreation Area remained the most popular spot, logging more than 2.5 million visitors last year. That made it the first state park to reach the 2 million mark in one year.

Of note: The North Carolina state parks system acquired more than 2,890 acres in 2023.

2. πŸ–Ό Art date

"SMIIILLLLEEEE" by Rachel Jones. Photo: Chad Redmon/Courtesy of the Harvey B. Gantt Center

Checking out a new exhibit is always a fun date idea, whether it's with friends, your significant other or just yourself.

Driving the news: "A Superlative Palette: Contemporary Black Women Artists" is now on view at the Harvey B. Gantt Center in Uptown.

Details: The exhibit features 12 artists from across the globe and was curated by Dexter Wimberly, who described it as "transformative."

  • It's on view through July 28.

Of note: This is one of several exhibitions running during the Gantt's 50th anniversary celebration.

Find more fun things to do this weekend here.

3. πŸ“ What we learned

Mad Miles' projected indoor portion of the facility. Rendering: Martrell Mosley/Courtesy of Cornell Jones

πŸƒπŸΎ Mad Miles Run Club founder Cornell Jones plans to open an indoor track facility in Charlotte. It'll be open to the public.

🏰 Former Carolina Panther Christian McCaffrey is cutting ties with both of his North Carolina properties.

🎰 Mobile sports betting goes live in North Carolina on Monday, March 11, at noon.

🏈 There's a new head coach again on Mint Street.

πŸ— Daryl Cooper and Oscar Johnson of Jimmy Pearls received semifinalist nominations for Best Chef: Southeast by the James Beard Foundation.

🍞 Charlotte baker Manolo Betancur will go to Ukraine again to help people affected by Russia's invasion.

✈️ Frontier Airlines is adding seven direct flights from Charlotte Douglas International Airport this spring, starting at $19 roundtrip.

πŸ›© Charlotte Douglas International Airport could have a brand-new "front door" by 2026.

πŸ— Mecklenburg County economic development officials want more say over how and where projects are built in the Charlotte area.

πŸ‰ Professional rugby is coming to Charlotte.

πŸ’Ό Uptown's cooler, younger neighbor is stealing its prospective office workers.

πŸ› Thrift Pony, a popular Charlotte thrift store, is going on tour with consignment events in six U.S. cities.

4. 🎨 Speaking of art...

A mural of flowers in Elizabeth.
Even with this week's dreary weather, this mural brightens up the day. Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios

Charlotte is filled with public art, like the new addition above in Elizabeth on the footpath between 8th Street and Bascom Street by Pam Imhof. Here are a few public art favorites from readers:

πŸ‘‘ The Queen Charlotte statue at the airport. β€”Susan M.

πŸ‘€ Metalmorphosis, a statue and fountain at Whitehall Corporate Center. β€”Mari W.

Pro tip: If you're in the Davidson area, check out Davidson College's 18 public sculptures. Here's the map for a self-guided walking tour.

Editor's note: Reader responses have been edited for clarity and brevity.

🎧 What I'm listening to: "Our New South," a new podcast from the Levine Museum of the New South. It explores the definition of "a new South" with hosts journalist Kevin Blackistone and historian Robert Greene II. UNC Chapel Hill professor Tressie McMillan Cottom joins them for Episode 1.

Thanks to Amy Stern for copy editing this newsletter.