In 1995, Durham Central Park was nothing more than a weedy, trash-filled area of vacant lots and decaying buildings. Most people don’t know that because there was no reason to visit the area! Two decades later, thousands of people come to the Park every week, to shop at the Farmers’ Market, to enjoy outdoor movies, concerts, food truck rodeos, and even attend weddings!
What new improvements are store for the Park?
In 2010, a volunteer committee surveyed hundreds of users of the Park, and three ideas emerged as overwhelming favorites:
- An area for children to explore nature.
- A shaded seating area for adults to relax and observe.
- And water! Everyone wants water.
The concept of Wanderland for the east side of Foster Streets was drawn up. Included in this vision are shady climbable animals, vine-covered trellis seating, water trickling over rocks—overall, a totally unique, interactive nature area.
This ambitious plan started the ball rolling on what resulted in the addition of the “Leaf” in 2011. This shaded area for seating and small performances was installed thanks to contributions made by Duke Energy and hundreds of backers of our Kickstarter campaign.
In 2013, we unveiled our design of the next phase of the park’s Wanderland development—Mount Merrill, which was dedicated and opened to the public December, 2014..
Public art is also a part of our mission. In 2014, our partnership with Liberty Arts resulted in three pieces of sculpture being installed in the park as part of their Bull City Sculpture Show. With any luck, one of the pieces from their show will find a permanent home in the park.