10 Reasons to Become a Friend of Durham Central Park

DCP Inc. is a steward organization of the 5 acre park, but where do the funds you contribute go?

While Durham Central Park has become a staple destination for visitors, residents, business owners, and event organizers in Durham and throughout the Triangle too, there are still many who assume that the park is largely funded through tax dollars. The reality is that, while the nonprofit Durham Central Park Inc. enjoys a fruitful and productive partnership with the City of Durham – much to the benefit of the park – DCP relies on donations from supporters like you to accomplish all that we do. Why contribute to our organization? Because these accomplishments empower us to ensure this five acres in the heart of downtown Durham stays beautiful, exciting, fun, safe, engaging, and welcoming. Read on to hear 10 reasons to Become a Friend of Durham Central Park.

10. Advocacy for the Future

DCP spent 2023 working on a comprehensive plan with design firm McAdams. DCP’s staff and board spent Saturdays at the Durham Farmers’ Market, DCP events, and even a three day Open House hearing from you what the public desires most for Durham Central Park. As an organization it is our job to guide the design process and advocate for what Durham wants and needs from such a vital community space. We will continue to turn feedback into the future with your support!

9. Affordable Venue for Anyone

Despite the rise in prices over, well, pretty much everything, DCP has largely kept our rental prices affordable and equitable. The pavilion at Durham Central Park is not only a great place to host your event, wedding or get-together – its easy to do so.  While our rental income comprises the other portion of our annual budgets, donations from the public help us ensure we can keep the prices down and the pavilion an affordable venue for anyone who wants to hold their event in downtown Durham.

8. Placemaking for Stewardship and Volunteerism

The result of an organization that leads a comunity space with an ethos surrounding belonging and access is a place that fosters: greater community organization, a sense of pride and volunteerism, and a perpetuation of integrity and values. Durham Central Park provides opportunities for volunteers to feel a sense of ownership and excitement in caring for shared space; whether sorting waste, picking up litter, or beautifying gardens. With donor support, we’re able to empower volunteers and neighbors toward civic engagement.

7. Everyday Fun

On a weekly basis, folks enjoy the natural space, children’s climbing structures, and covered pavilion for recreation, respite, social interaction, and exercise. In addition to our special events and other rentals, the everyday activity in the park showcases how versatile this downtown community space is. Even beyond DIY everyday fun, over the last few years we’ve developed weekly offerings like our Tuesday Story Hour for children, and in 2023, a new partnership with You Call This Yoga added free yoga classes for anyone to join twice a week. Whether your activities are self designed or an offering from our organization, Durham Central Park is there for it all.

6. Creating Improved Accessibility

As an organization focused on fostering a sense of belonging, a question we often ask ourselves how to make it easier to enjoy the park and its offerings. This comes in the design of future amenities, considering parking needs for events, and accessibility to our concert series in the form of livestreaming PLAYlist on the radio so folks can listen from home. In 2023, we went even further in making sure everyone felt welcome in the park, by offering ASL interpretation at the concert series and providing a space for bilingual yoga classes. In 2024, we plan to dig even further into accessibility, by assessing all the ways in which folks usse the park and how we can bring even more people into the fold.

5. Building Economic Stability

Our vendors and partners are crucial to our programs, and we are overjoyed to foster entrepreneurial success. In 2023, between our rodeos, markets, program partners, we’ve built a space for thousands of businesses to prosper. Durham Central Park creates local value and local dollars pumping through the community.

4. Sustainable Leadership

Another year, another few tons of waste diverted from the landfill. Durham Central Park prides itself of leading the way for venues in the triangle by composting all food waste, using plastic-free, grey water safe soap from local business, Fillaree, and continuing into our second year of our Reusable Cup Program. Events create waste, there is no avoiding it. But we do the very best we can to lessen our impact on the landfill as a venue. We work hard with local organizations like Don’t Waste Durham, Keep Durham Beautiful, local breweries and businesses to ensure all our event partners and vendors work together to keep the amount of waste we send to the landfill to an absolute minimum.

3. Free Programming

PLAYlist, the Food Truck Rodeos, our Children’s Independence Day Parade, the Annual Iron Pour, all of our events have one big detail in common. Despite their broad appeal and varying audiences, all these events are free, fun, and open to everyone. It is a large undertaking to create a program of events that are high-quality and enjoyable for people from all walks of life.

2. Maintaining and Improving Amenities

Maintenance.. it’s not the most exciting thing to boast about. But as uninteresting as the unloading of a ton of gravel is, or lackluster a major repair on staircases through the park sounds, this function of our organization is essential to the safety and beauty of our five acres of greenspace. Every year there are so many necessary maintenance and repair projects, and we are so grateful to your contributions so that work can continued unencumbered.

1. Nurturing Community (Bringing YOU Together)

Parks are an essential need for the health and improved sociability of the community. So many park patrons have told us this year that they are enamored with the encouragement of social health in Durham Central Park. Our space creates opportunities for more cultural exposure, interaction, draws a more diverse population and encourages community creativity. We are so grateful to YOU for coming to the park and being apart of it all.

Thank you for another year of beauty, community, and joy! See you in the park in 2024.