Construction Update


Photo by Stacey Poston


You may be wondering why the park’s hillside is under construction. A new loop sidewalk is being installed around the perimeter of the lawn!

This new sidewalk will be ADA accessible and it will create a much needed connection between Rigsbee Ave and Foster Street on the east side of the park.This loop  sidewalk has been part of the Park’s master plan for over 20 years. For a long time it was, what felt like, an unattainable dream because a sidewalk of that scope and design is a very expensive project. In 2014, East-West Partners, the developer of the Liberty Warehouse Apartments, approached the Park and proposed that they help build the sidewalk in the Park while their crews are assembled. Since then, Durham Central Park, Inc, the City of Durham, and East-West Partners has been working closely to finalize the details to make this new connection a reality!

img_8677This area was once the site of Mangum Warehouse No. 1& 2, tobacco auction warehouses. The warehouse was similar in size and scope to Liberty Warehouse (the current site of the Liberty Warehouse Apartments). Mangum Warehouse was demolished sometime in the 1980s, according to In the late 90s, the City of Durham acquired the land and it created the east side of Durham Central Park. Over the next 10 years, brush was cleared, the hillside was graded and it became an wide open green space that is now called the Great Lawn. In 2009, Parks and Rec built and opened the skate park on the south east corner of the lawn. Now, as the land for the sidewalk is being prepared, big chunks of the foundation of Mangum Warehouse are being unearthed, as you can see in the picture. That was expected and if you are watching it happen (like I am), it’s like an urban archaeological site!

In addition to the loop sidewalk, there will be a proper entrance to the park built near the intersection of Broadway and Rigsbee. This is another long planned addition that will welcome our neighbors from the east into the park. The sidewalk installation should take about 8 weeks and we are hoping to re-open the area in late fall. That, of course depends on the weather. After the sidewalk is constructed, the hillside will be regraded and seeded with grass so that it, once again, becomes an open green lawn for all to enjoy.

As we have gathered feedback from the community, we know that many people want to see more shade in the Park. So, we are working on that too! We have been working closely with the Durham’s forestry manager, Alex Johnson to identify hearty varieties of trees that will be planted along the perimeter of the new sidewalk to create groves of shade around the lawn. About 20 arge-ish trees will be planted in early winter!

We are also please to let you know that the skatepark is getting some much needed repairs! It should re-open by mid-October.

Check back soon for more details!



Help Us Improve the Park!

dcp-improvethepark-postcard-2016-r2Over the past few weeks, we’ve been seeking your input about the Park – how you use the Park, what you like, what needs improvement, etc – through our Community Input Survey in ENGLISH and SPANISH. Hundreds of people have shared their thoughts and we are so grateful!

Our next step in the information gathering process is to hold Community Input Sessions. We will be holding two over the next couple of weeks.

Thursday September 22nd, 6-8pm
The Trotter Building
410 W. Geer Street

Thursday September 29th, 6-8pm
Durham Parks and Rec
400 Cleveland Street
Spanish Interpretation Available

At these community input sessions, we’ll have brief presentation about the history of the Park starting at 6:15 each evening. After that, participants can circulate around to different tables staffed by DCP staff and board members to tell us what you’d like to see in terms of physical improvements, park programming, the Park’s mission, and more. These are drop in events. All are welcome to join!

Durham Central Park’s Master Plan

Why are we seeking your input about the park right now? Well, every few years, Durham Central Park takes the time to listen to the community about how they use the Park, what they would like to see at the Park, what is working, what’s not working, etc. Then, with the input from the community, we hold a design charrette to update the park’s Master Plan. A design charrette is where designers and community members get together to draw and dream of what the Park will look like in the future. From there, a revised Master Plan is created and the DCP board uses it as a guide for future updates and improvements. The Pavilion that houses the Durham Farmers’ Market and Mt. Merrill are both the direct results of community input to guide creation and revision of the Master Plan.

The Master Plan Design Charrette will be held on Saturday October 8th, 9-Noon at Measurement Incorporated, 423 Morris Street.

In fact, we are currently installing an element that has been on the Park’s Master Plan for a long time. The Loop Sidewalk is being installed on the east side of the Park between the Leaf and the Skate Park. Right now, the whole hillside is torn up, but in a matter of weeks, an ADA-accesbile loop shaped sidewalk will be installed around the great lawn. The lawn will be re-graded back into a hillside that won’t be nearly as muddy and difficult to traverse as it is now.

Please join us and help shape the future of Durham Central Park!

Great Loop Construction Starts Soon!

dcp-master-plan-7-15-smaller-2On Monday, September 12th, a big change is coming to Durham Central Park. We are pleased to announce that an ADA accessible loop shaped sidewalk will be installed on the east side of the Park. The sidewalk will provide an safe and easily traversable connection between Rigsbee Ave and Foster St. for the community (see image). No longer will people have to tromp up or down a sometimes muddy hillside to get from one side of the park to the other. This sidewalk has been in DCP’s Master Plan for many years and it is exciting to see it finally being built!

We are also pleased to share that while we are adding this new sidewalk, the open space of the Great Lawn will be preserved and also slightly regraded to help with existing drainage problems. After the construction is completed, this winter, there will be new shade trees installed around the sidewalk. Tree locations TBA. Stay tuned.

During the construction, the Great Lawn area will be closed to the public. Construction should last 6-8 weeks. Park visitors will have full access to the Leaf, Mt. Merrill, the bridge and the whole west side of the Park. In the first two weeks of construction, the Skate Park will also be closed for some much needed repairs. After those repairs are finished, the skatepark will reopen and be fully accessible while the sidewalk is installed.

This sidewalk installation will be funded in large part by East West Partners, the company that is building Liberty Warehouse Apartments. Over the years that East West Partners has been working on the apartments, they have been great friends to Durham Central Park. In addition to installing the sidewalk that has been on the Master Plan for years, they made a sizable donation to build Mt. Merrill and in the near future will be making a donation towards art in the Park.


Rissi Palmer Previews Friday Warehouse Blues Concert on WUNC’s The State of Things

She’s a little bit country, a little bluesy, and packs a punch behind a mircophone. Don’t miss the Triangle’s own Rissi Ralmer on WUNC’s The State of Things Friday, July 15, where she’ll be previewing her full band performance at Durham Central Park that evening. Between sets at Durham Central Park, Rissi will conduct a free “powerhouse” blues vocal workshop–all part of the 13th annual Warehouse Blues Series. Tune in to 91.5 (and other stations in eastern NC) from 12-1 p.m. Rissi’s music and interview segment begins around 12:40 p.m. Click here for more info and line up of local food trucks and beer at the show. Durham Central Park’s Warehouse Blues Series is made possible by The Blue Note Grill, Marriott Durham, Questell Foundation, Leaf Filter, Downtown Durham Inc., AARP North Carolina, Home Advisor and Cricket Wireless.


Childrens’ Independence Day Parade this Monday!

Our Annual Childrens’ Independence Day Parade is Monday!

This parade is one of our longest running events at the Park. Every year, on the 4th of July, we look forward to providing a fun and free event for the community. Starting at 9:30 a.m., the Scrap Exchange will be on hand to with supplies to help kids get decorated for the parade. Bring your bike, trike, big wheels, scooter, stroller, wagon or just decorate yourself! We’ll provide lots of balloons too.The parade starts at 10:30 a.m.. We will wind through the Park and over the bridge. Once we are done parading, there will be free popsicles and fire engine tours for all. DJ Piddipat will be providing the music.

Below are a few highlight from past parades! We hope to see you there.

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fire truck

parade bridge parade scooter20150704_102550 - Copy


Tai Chi in DCP

FREE Tai Chi classes are taught in Durham Central Park at 10:15 a.m. each Saturday morning. This is a guest blog entry from instructor Ashton Richards:

Tai Chi Chuan is possibly an exponent of Shaolin Kung Fu. Shaolin Kung Fu is thought to be the combination of martial Shuai Jiao (Chinese wrestling with striking) and Yoga breathing, exercises, and meditation. Legend has it that Da Mo an Indian Buddhist monk taught this Yoga to the Shaolin monks. Chang San Feng a Daoist Priest is credited for inventing Tai Chi 1101 A.D. The style of Kung Fu was eventually passed down to the Chen Family from Chaing Fa. Chan San Feng studied at the Shaolin Temple and then revised their form of Kung Fu to match Taoist ideas.
I enjoy practicing Tai Chi because it combines balance, relaxation, breathing with mobility and flexibility conditioning. Tai Chi can be meditation and it is the most complete system of self defense. Tai Chi is not difficult to do but it takes time and effort to do well.
To find out about free lifestyle classes, concerts and events at DCP, visit
Tai Chi at DCP

Spring Cleaning in the Park

On Saturday, a large group of Duke Alumni came down to the Park and spent a few hours cleaning and sprucing up! Weeds were pulled, vines were cleared out, gravel was added to pathways, and lots of mulch was spread around the Park. Including around the cardinal…



If you have a group that is interested in participating in a workday at the Park, please contact Erin. We hold 6 regular workdays each year – on the first Saturdays of April, May, June, September, October and November. We are always happy to schedule as special workday to accommodate a group.

New Benches at Mt. Merrill!

Have you seen the new benches and the new sign at Mt. Merrill yet? On April 26th, Al Frega and a crew from Durham Marble Works installed 5 benches and a lovely new sign at the entrance of Mt. Merrill!


The 5 benches are made from re-claimed limestone cornice stones from the Southern Railway Freight Depot, which was once located at the intersection of Roxboro and Pettigrew (adjacent to the jail). The building was demolished in 1993 and Al go a hold of these lovely stones which are now in the Park! If you look closely at the benches, you’ll see diagonal holes in the top of each. Al told me that those holes were used to lift and place the stone. You’ll also see a mark that was engraved in one of the pieces a long time ago. Al said that those marks were used to help place the pieces.

The sign was created by Ron Bartholomew at Durham Marble Works. It is made from a piece of Limestone that came from Indiana. Ron doesn’t often have the opportunity to work with limestone (he usually works with granite), but he took on the project without hesitation! As the design came together, he did some research on how to best protect the stone from wear and tear. He found that the best process was to create a limewash (crushed up limestone and water) and spread several layers over the stone. He told me that it was a very antiquated process that is not used very often anymore, since limestone is not regularly used for signs these days.

While the finished product is beautiful, the process of installing the benches and the sign was pretty fascinating. My two year old son and I spent about an hour watching the team use a crane to move the stones from the truck and install them in the Park. Enjoy the pictures below!






See you at the Park!

Erin Kauffman, DCP Executive Director

Spring Cleaning in Berkshire Hathaway Garden


On April 16th, a large group of folks from Berkshire Hathaway Home Services and Old North State Landscaping descended upon their adopted garden in the southwest corner of the Park to do a spring spruce up! Weeds were pulled, bushes were pruned, ground was mulched, plants were planted and a new pathway was installed. It’s never been more beautiful! If you get a chance, take a stroll through this lovely corner of the Park.

Enjoy some during and after pictures!

During workday
During workday
New Walkway in Process
New Walkway – After!










Thanks so much to Tracey Goetz, Berkshire Hathaway and Old North State Landscaping for their dedication to Durham Central Park!

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