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!
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!
Thanks so much to Tracey Goetz, Berkshire Hathaway and Old North State Landscaping for their dedication to Durham Central Park!
Adopted by the Durham Central Park Board of Directors April 20, 2016: Durham Central Park, Inc. does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, national original, disability, marital status, sexual orientation or military status, in any of its activities or operations or activities. These activities include, but are not limited to, hiring and firing of staff, selection of volunteers and vendors and provision of services. We are committed to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all members of our staff, clients, volunteers, subcontractors, consultants, vendors and the general public.
Durham Central Park, Inc. is an equal opportunity employer. We will not discriminate and will take affirmative action to ensure against discrimination in employment, recruitment and advertisements for employments, compensation, termination, upgrading, promotions, and other conditions of employment on the basis of race, color, gender, national origin, age, religion, creed, disability, veteran’s status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or genetic information.
It happened so fast…The Park exploded into beauty and activity after a (seemingly brief) winter rest! Over the past few weeks, every time I’ve visited the Park, I’ve been greeted with scenes of bulbs blooming and fruit trees in flower, kids enjoying Mt. Merrill, people picnicking on the lawn, and a very busy skate park. I’m convinced that the Turtle looks even happier now that spring is here!
As spring really begins to kick into high gear, here are a few things to look forward to in the Park…
The Durham Farmers’ Market is back in summer mode!
Saturday summer hours of 8am-Noon have resumed a couple of weeks ago. Next week, the Wednesday Market opens next week and will run through mid-October with the hours of 3:30- 6:30pm. Important note: STRAWBERRIES are now in season and are as sweet as can be! DurhamFarmersMarket.com
The Durham Craft Market has returned!
After a winter break, the Durham Craft Market is back in the Sister Cities Grove every Saturday mornings from 8am-Noon. DurhamCraftMarket.com
Free Yoga in the Park Starts May 7th
This summer, Blue Point Yoga will be offering free, all level yoga classes from 9-10am every Saturday from May 7 to August 27. Classes will be held in a NEW location: on the east side of Foster Street between the Skate Park and The Leaf in the shade. More Info…
Durham Cinematheque Movies in the Park Lineup Announced
May 20: MAYBE YOU SHOULD QUIT
June 10: THINK IT MIGHT RAIN
July 1: MAKING ART IN THE UNIVERSE.
All shows start at 9:00. Admission – free/ pass the hat Read more about the movies here…
Spring Volunteer Workdays Saturdays May 7 & June 4, 9am-Noon.
Help keep the Park beautiful and clean for everyone to enjoy. Once a month, a crew of volunteers helps with planting, gardening, and general beautification around the Park. Get your hands dirty and meet some new folks who love the Park as much as you do.
While there is lots of activity in the Park, you’ve probably noticed more activity just outside of the Park too. A new construction project has broken ground along the southwest corner of the Park. The Brannan, a 30 unit condominium, will be our new neighbors on Hunt Street. Construction should last about 18 months.
Over at the former Liberty Warehouse site, the big red crane is still moving around and the Liberty Warehouse Apartments are coming together fast. Recently, I met the owners of the bowling alley/restaurant that will be on ground floor on Foster Street. It is a locally owned business and they already have locations in Raleigh and Charleston. They are nice folks and will be a fun addition to the neighborhood. Liberty Warehouse construction is scheduled to be finished by the fall.
I hope you can stop by the Park sometime this spring! Grab a donut and enjoy the scenery…
See you at the Park!
It’s been another great year for Durham Central Park and our year-end Cardinal Campaign is in full swing.
DCP, Inc. is a non-profit organization that develops, maintains and sustains this 5 acre urban park in the heart of downtown Durham. Though the land is owned by the city, we receive no public funds from the city or county. Our efforts are financially supported in three ways: rental fees, fundraising events such as Meals from the Market & Food Truck Rodeos, and donations through the Cardinal Campaign!
We are committed to maintaining a beautiful, welcoming green space for the entire Durham community and the city’s many visitors to enjoy. In order to do so, we use our funds to maintain the Pavilion and the gardens, pay our staff, host events that are free and open to the public, add features and upgrade facilities.
This year, we celebrated Mt. Merrill’s first anniversary! We have added shades to help keep the slides form getting too hot in the summer. In the coming weeks, we will be installing a new fence over the creek and benches designed by local artist, Al Frega. There are some major Park improvements in the works for 2016, including a walkway to connect Rigsbee Ave and Foster St., additional seating and shade, art installations, and a water fountain near Mt. Merrill.
To keep up this momentum, we need your support. Please consider making a year-end gift to DCP in one of the following ways:
A record $42,000 was raised for Durham Central Park this fall during Meals from the Market. “That means more and more improvements to downtown’s back yard, Durham Central Park” says Board member Lee Ann Tilley. From the casual “Trucks from the Market” mini food truck rodeo to meals hosted in private homes to the decadent “Evening in San Sebastian” at Mateo Bar de Tapas, hosts generously donate all their prep time and menu items, raise a major portion of DCP’s annual income and create community. Thank you!
Durham Central Park applied to be one of Indy Week’s chosen non-profits for their 2015 Give!Guide and was selected for the second year running! It’s easy to donate at http://give.indyweek.com/Nonprofits/Arts-and-Culture/Durham-Central-Park and there are incentives from local businesses Beer Durham and Cocoa Cinnamon 2 for donors of $35 or more. Additionally, Indy Week has lined up their own incentives:
We hold 5 rodeos a year that feature over 50 local food trucks and draw in thousands of eaters from all over the area. Our rodeos highlight local food vendors from the Triangle that are MOBILE… ALL vendors must prepare the foods themselves and serve it out of a truck, trailer, minivan, cart, trike or bike!
Change and growth are happening around Durham Central Park (DCP). Apartments and retail are being constructed where the old Liberty Warehouse once stood and condominiums are proposed at 539 Foster Street – at the north end of the park. Over the next few years, there will be lots of construction adjacent to the Park and there will be some changes within the Park as well. The Park’s new neighbors have committed to make agreed upon improvements within the Park. These changes will include the construction of many features, which have been in DCP’s master plan for a long time, including additional paths, more seating and shade, and nicer entrances to the Park. These elements will enhance the beauty and usability of the Park and it will continue to be an open and welcoming space for all residents of Durham.
However, these improvements will come at a cost. Construction around the Park in the coming months and years will create noise, confusion, and inconvenience. The Durham Farmers’ Market will continue to operate, and DCP will continue to host concerts, movies, and other events. These activities will all take place beside barricades and construction fences. Traffic and parking will be disrupted.
But there is light at the end of the tunnel. Here is a sample of what Durham Central Park lovers will get in return:
A landscaped berm built up against the side of the 539 condo building, facing the Pavilion adding shade and much needed seating to that area of the Park
A replanted Sister City Grove
A new drainage system, which will make the now-soggy play field north of the Pavilion playable.
An extension of the bike/trail sidewalk from the Grace Garden to Corporation Street.
Attractive entryways to the Park at Corporation Street and near Broadway Street
A long-dreamed-of walkway between Rigsbee and Foster Streets
While it is nice that our new neighbors are willing to pitch in money and labor to make these improvements, the Park wouldn’t be what it is now without the hundreds of volunteers who have rolled up their sleeves and gotten their hands dirty to create the Park we see today. Many in our community do not realize that Durham Central Park is not operated by the city. The City of Durham owns the land, but Durham Central Park, Inc, a non-profit, manages the space without funds from the city. The organization is run by a volunteer Board of Directors and is supported by hundreds of volunteers who helped to get the ball rolling years ago to organize the public design meetings that envisioned the park, campaigned to pass the bond for the purchase of land, cleared rocks, planted flowers, built walkways, sought donations and grants to build the Pavilion for the Durham Farmers’ Market, the “Leaf” shade structure, and most recently the “Mount Merrill” play area, and helped to bring the Skate Park to DCP. The non-profit Durham Central Park, Inc. and the City of Durham have partnered to create not just a park, but also a community space that is embraced by thousands.
This past year, as developments along our boundaries have been proposed, the City Manager’s Office has recognized the thousands of hours and many thousands of dollars that Durham community members have contributed to make the Park such an appealing destination. The City Manager asked the DCP volunteer Board to meet with prospective developers to make recommendations for our shared property lines so that the long-range vision of DCP remained intact. Our focus in these discussions has been how best to assimilate the edges of these new buildings with our green space. An art wall on the Liberty Warehouse and terraced seating on 539 Foster will go a long way to blend our neighbor’s projects with our Park. The developers recognize the value of the Park, and they want to help enhance it. We welcome these new partners in our efforts to complete the long-envisioned master plan.
DCP, Inc. board members and volunteers recognize our responsibility as stewards of the Park. The community’s sense of ownership is the Park’s greatest asset. We welcome your input and feedback. (Feel free to contact Erin Kauffman, our Executive Director, or any of our board members, listed on our website.) These new opportunities to improve the Park are exciting, but not without bumps along the way. We pledge to do our best to keep the community informed and the Park functioning, and we look forward to a greatly enhanced Park just a few years down the road.