Midwood Mile

About the Midwood Mile

The Midwood Mile is a long-term placemaking initiative to create both an amenity and an attraction for everyone to enjoy on The Plaza between Parkwood Avenue and Central Avenue. This street is both a gateway and main travel spine for our neighborhood, as well as a thruway for our Charlotte neighbors. Our vision is to create a safe, welcoming, vibrant, and people-friendly place that encourages activity, facilitates connections, and builds community. Imagine what beauty and interest might be created with a sustained effort to implement landscaping, art, and more along our neighborhood’s driveway.

If you'd like to support this project, please look for volunteer opportunities, DONATE, or email us at info@plazamidwood.org for more ways to help! 

In the meantime, we hope you'll bike, scoot, skate, stroll, walk, run, and LOVE the Midwood Mile!

Find out more about the various Midwood Mile projects below.

The Midwood Mile's Newest Project: Native Wildflowers and Grasses to Beautify The Plaza

Sharp-eyed residents heading down The Plaza near Central may have wondered about straw on the narrow median in the block before Hamorton. Is something other than grass growing there?

The answer to that puzzle is yes: native wildflowers and grasses.

This is one of two new native wildflower test plots just planted in recent weeks as part of the Midwood Mile effort. The second plot is located in the median a few blocks north, just before Kensington under the Crepe Myrtle trees in that stretch.

Both patches are planted in mixes of native grasses and wildflowers. The idea behind the mixes is to spruce up the median, but also to test which species are best able to adapt to the conditions at each location.

For the Hamorton plot, the seeds were chosen for their ability to thrive despite the often harsh, hot and dry conditions of that narrow median location, especially during summer, according to Brian Bennett, a landscape architect. Bennett is leading this effort along with his wife, Aya Miyakoda, also a landscape architect; and Will Ruark of the Catawba Lands Conservancy.

For the patch near Kensington, the mix was chosen for shade tolerance, to thrive in a section where they will grow beneath the numerous Crepe Myrtles in that stretch of median.

The patches were both seeded on May 18, during a dry spell. Recent rain should help the seeds germinate and begin emerging very soon.

What will you see? The first plants likely to appear will be the oat grasses, long thin stalks of green-blue leaves that grow in clumps. That will be followed by other grasses and flowers of many kinds. 

For the Hamorton patch, the seed mix includes native flowering plants such as Blackeyed Susan, Yarrow, two varieties of Coreopsis, Lemon mint, Lupine, Illinois bundleflower and White prairie clover.

For the Kensington patch, the mix also includes other grasses such as Creeping red fescue, Fox sedge and Upland bentgrass. Flowering plants include Coreopsis, Lemon mint, Columbine and Smooth Aster.

Bennett cautions that it could take some months, even a year or more, for all of the species to germinate and flower. That’s because some seeds in the mixes are given special treatment by the supplier to help replicate natural conditions by remaining dormant through the first winter and emerging next spring. This helps ensure long-term hardiness.

Whenever the plants emerge, it will provide a great opportunity to see the beauty of native grasses and flowering plants in each environment. And, according to Midwood Mile Committee leader Larry Nabatoff, provide great examples for homeowners in the neighborhood who are interested in adopting more of the native species themselves.


As their first pilot project, the Midwood Mile team coordinated with the city and over 40 volunteers to plant 9,000 tulips in five sections of the median. The beautiful flowers were a wonderful bright spot in Spring 2020! Thank you to all of our volunteers and partners that helped make this possible.  


Heart Mural

In 2020, we implemented Charlotte’s first ever bike lane mural, and let’s just say we LOVE it!!!  This beautiful mural is located in the bike lanes outside of Holy Trinity Church near Belle Terre. Neighborhood artist, Laurel Holtzapple, designed the mural called "Hearts A Bursting" and was inspired by Holy Trinity's tagline of "loving not judging". Thank you to all the volunteers, your support of PMNA, and the partnership & generous contributions from the following:

  • Arts & Science Council
  • Sustain Charlotte
  • The Whole Blooming Landscape
  • Van Landingham Estate Partners
  • Ken Riel of Nestlewood Realty
  • Fit Atelier
  • Bird Scooters
  • Charlotte Cycles
  • Holy Trinity Lutheran Church

Bike Lane Planter Refresh

The Midwood Mile Committee has been hard at work planning how to improve the look and function of the bike lane planters, and now it's time to execute on those plans! The planters are now owned and maintained by PMNA (not the city), so it’s a community effort to keep them looking nice. In February 2022, the committee kicked off a new "Block Captain" concept to engage residents on The Plaza for improved maintenance of the planters, as well as other street clean up and beatification efforts. Then on Saturday, March 26th, a team of volunteers implemented the first phase of the planter refresh - pruning and removing any dead plants.
The second and final phase happened in April and included lots of hard work from volunteers. They painted the planters in a beautiful terra cotta color and added new plants. Next the team is working on new reflective decals! Thank you for the support from Oakdale Greenhouses,  Whirly Pig Design, Yafo Kitchen, & Pilot Brewing.
If you'd like to make a financial contribution to help us maintain the planters going forward, you can go to Donate | Plaza Midwood - just be sure to select Midwood Mile from the drop-down so that we allocate your money accordingly.
Scroll down for more information and answers to some frequently asked questions regarding the planters.


Why are the planters being painted?
The Midwood Mile committee has received lots of feedback from residents that the gray planters are not appealing and look like the same material as garbage cans. After discussing many different options to improve the look, painting was determined to be the simplest and most cost-effective way to transform them. Spray paint is also the easiest from a maintenance perspective - Block captains and volunteers can quickly touch up any scuff marks etc.
Why was the terra cotta color chosen?
The terra cotta color was selected for the following reasons:
  • The color creates the look of natural clay pot, a simple timeless look.
  • The color is bright enough to provide contrast against the asphalt for improved visibility and safety.
  • The color is part of the city's approved colors for this type of street infrastructure.
What is the purpose of the planters?
The planters act as a vertical barrier that visually divides the car and bike lanes and creates "protected bike lanes". By having this vertical barrier, studies have shown that cars tend to drive slower and cyclists of all levels feel more comfortable riding.
Who owns and maintains the planters?
The city made the original purchase and maintained them for the first year. PMNA is now the current owner and has allocated an annual amount for basic maintenance going forward. A subcommittee within the Midwood Mile team is managing and coordinating that maintenance with the help of Block Captains and residents along The Plaza.
How do the planters get watered?
The planters are "self-watering" with a large water reserve on the bottom. However, they do still need watering during the hotter months, so PMNA hires a licensed contractor to come through with a water truck. In 2021, we experienced an extra dry summer and the plants really did not get enough water, causing several of them to die. We are adjusting our watering plans accordingly and hope to keep the plants healthier this year after the big planter refresh.


What do I do if I see one of the planters knocked over or pushed out of place?
If you see a planter blocking the vehicle or bike lane, please immediately call 311 during daytime hours or 911 after hours. In addition, please notify the Midwood Mile team by sending an email to info@plazamidwood.org with the general location of the planter. If the planter is out of place, but NOT blocking the vehicle or bike lane, you can simply send the email to the Midwood Mile team. Thank you!