Park Story: Roney Street
In 2002, a 360 foot long section of Roney Street that ran in the middle of the western side of Durham Central Park was closed to traffic. Barriers and a sidewalk were constructed at the intersection of Roney and Hunt Street.
In 2008, Measurement Durham LLC, in preparation for building The Measurement Building, was informed that, legally, Roney Street had never been closed and any development at the Hunt and Roney intersection would need to include “site triangles” to assist traffic pulling out of the long since closed Roney Street. This news prompted Measurement Durham LLC to conduct further research and determined 300 feet of Roney had been voted closed by City Council, but never recorded as such and a 60 feet section of Roney (the section bordered by Measurement Durham LLC and Durham Central Park) was never part of the original closing. Measurement Durham LLC then re-started the road closing procedures and Roney was officially closed by late 2009.
During this process, Dr. Henry Scherich, President and Founder of Measurement Durham LLC’s parent company Measurement Inc., held a series of conversations with Durham Central Park Board as to how the road closing and Measurement Building construction could assist the development of the Park. Eventually, the need to soften the severe slope from the former Roney St. roadbed up to the gardens in the western section of the park was identified as a high priority.
Due to utility easements, Roney Street could not be completely removed, but it could be narrowed from a two lane street down to one lane. This, combined with excess dirt and topsoil left over from The Measurement Building excavation formed a great opportunity to enhance the Park’s western edge. Measurement Durham and some of its partners agreed to pay for half of the removal of Roney Street and the re-landscaping of the bank above the street, in addition to the in-kind donations of design, project management and the excess topsoil. Durham Central Park Board agreed to raise the other half of funds needed for construction.
In 2011, Choate Construction Company, Davis Landscaping, and CSSI performed the actual construction of the new, softer embankments and immediately the gardens above became easier to access. Roney Street, which once were a barrier to the gardens from the rest of Durham Central Park, now links the gardens and DCP together creating a safe and pleasant walkway for all to enjoy.