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Did you know there’s a Cemetery in one of Durham's Parks?

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By Katrina Wood, Program Assistant Durham Parks and Recreation’s Leigh Farm Park, located at 370 Leigh Farm Road, represents lives of the Leigh family as well as the sixteen individuals enslaved by the Leighs. Taken together, their history in the park spans from the 1830s on up to the 1970s. While visitors can learn about them on a park tour, they can also discover more by visiting the Leigh Cemetery. The family cemetery serves as a final resting place for patriarch Richard Stanford Leigh, his first wife Nancy Ann Carlton Leigh, and Stanford’s second wife Leathy, as well as several additional family members. The Leigh Cemetery can be reached by a trail leading from the old Ram’s Gate Road that runs in front of the Visitor’s Center, at the park kiosk. There are 25 marked headstones, yet only 15 are readable. The last burial took place in 1946, and the earliest known burial is for Nancy Ann Carlton Leigh—she died giving birth to twins in July 1861. Want to get involved and learn more? He

We Rise Up for Parks and Recreation this July

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This July, We Rise Up for Parks and Recreation! We’re celebrating Park and Recreation Month by highlighting all the ways the Durham community is stronger, more vibrant and more resilient because of parks and recreation. The services that park and recreation professionals provide are vital for our communities — from protecting open space and natural resources to helping fight obesity and providing activities and resources for all people. This has been especially true throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. We hope you join us in celebrating this month and reflecting on the exponential value parks and recreation brings to Durham residents! Since 1985, America has celebrated July as Park and Recreation Month. A program of the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), the goal is to raise awareness of the essential services that park and recreation professionals provide to communities across the U.S. NRPA encourages all people that support parks and recreation to share how parks and recre

Volunteer Highlight of the Month: Burton Park Playground Volunteers

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By: Mal Atkinson, Resource Coordinator In May 2022, Burton Park, located at 1501 Sima Avenue, received a brand new, kid-designed playground, which was installed by 250 local volunteers over the course of three days for a total of 1,000 hours. From unloading the playground pieces, to spreading mulch, to mixing concrete, to painting railings, each volunteer played a crucial role from start to finish in the build process. We would like to give a special shout out to the various groups, organizations, and City departments that volunteered throughout build week: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Durham Parks and Recreation Recreation Advisory Commission Durham Parks Foundation Durham Fire Department Durham EMS Durham Police Department Durham Housing Authority Durham County Government City Attorney’s Office City Clerk’s Office Duke University - The Fuqua School Of Business And thank you to our project partners, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) and KABOO

Let's Celebrate! You're Invited to Merrick-Moore Park

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Let's celebrate! You're invited to the Grand Opening Celebration for Merrick-Moore Park, located at 632 N Hoover Road, on Saturday, June 18 from 9 a.m. to Noon with an official ribbon cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. The 50-acre park is aptly named for the neighboring Merrick-Moore Community and its namesakes, John Merrick (1859-1919) and Dr. Aaron McDuffie Moore (1863-1923). John Merrick was a successful business man, community leader, as well as co-founder and president of the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company (North Carolina Mutual), which became the largest Black-owned business in the United States. Merrick co-founded North Carolina Mutual with Dr. Aaron Moore, the city’s first Black physician who was central to the establishment of Durham’s Black Wall Street, the Durham Colored Library, and the Lincoln Hospital, the first Black-run hospital in the city. Together, Merrick and Moore are credited with earning Durham a reputation as the "Capital of the Black Middle

Get Ready to Rock the Park

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Are you ready to rock!? Durham Parks and Recreation offers a summer series that includes concerts and movies in a beautiful setting - Durham's parks. You're invited to sit back, relax and enjoy family and friends while grooving to music or watching a movie on a big screen. Both activities are free and open to the public. Concerts are held from 6 p.m.-8 p.m. and movies are held from 8:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m.  Go ahead and mark your calendar for the following dates: Saturday, June 11 | 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. at Forest Hills Park [1639 University Drive] Band: Sajaso (Jazz) Saturday, June 25 | 8:30 p.m. - 10:30 p.m. at Durham Central Park [501 Foster Street] Movie: Encanto (PG) Saturday, July 9 | 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. at Rock Quarry Park [701 Stadium Drive] Band: CJ Baker and "September" Earth, Wind & Fire Tribute Saturday, July 23 | 8:30 p.m. - 10:30 p.m. at Durham Central Park [501 Foster Street] Movie: Space Jam: A New Legacy (PG) Saturday, August 6 | 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. at Southern Bou

Volunteer Highlight of the Month: Maggie and David

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By: Mal Atkinson, Resource Coordinator While the days leading up to a wedding may involve running errands, completing last minute tasks and hosting out of town guest and family...one Durham couple spent their time giving back to Rockwood Park! They aren’t an ordinary couple that do ordinary mundane things. They are two people that have desire to make their community and those around them better.  On a cool Saturday morning in April, Maggie and David gathered over 50 of their closest friends and family members for a pre-wedding morning workday at Rockwood Park, the neighborhood park close to their home and their favorite place to take a morning walk. Friends, moms, dads, stepparents, brothers and sisters all joined in to help plant a native perennial garden near the Rockwood Park picnic shelter. Maggie and David wanted to make their favorite park more beautiful while honoring their commitment to tending their home. They purchased and donated over 500 flowers and plants, which were place

Community-Guided Improvements Coming Soon to Lyon Park

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Lyon Park is getting ready to receive some highly-anticipated, community-guided improvements! Located at 1200 W Lakewood Avenue, Lyon Park is a multi-use community park in West Central Durham situated between West End, Morehead Hill, Forest Hills, and Lakewood Park neighborhoods. The current park features include a picnic shelter, playground, swings, basketball court, athletic field and restrooms. Back in 2017, Durham Parks and Recreation (DPR) received concerns from nearby residents around the park regarding the out-of-service light pole, the need for more lighting, issues with the restrooms, feeling unsafe, the need for more maintenance, and the on-going issue of litter being left around the park. These improvement requests aligned with DPR’s interest in finding ways to support Durham’s growing population, supporting types of recreation gaining popularity, and attracting users to re-engage with Lyon Park. In 2018, DPR took action and began performing an assessment of the park to addr

Celebrate History, Culture & Arts: Bimbé Cultural Arts Festival

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The national award winning Bimbé Cultural Arts Festival will celebrate its 52nd Anniversary on May 21, 2022! Join us at Rock Quarry Park, located at 701 Stadium Drive, from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. for this family oriented event as we celebrate African and African American history, culture, arts, and traditions. In partnership with Durham Parks and Recreation, the 52nd Annual Bimbé Cultural Arts Festival is presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina. Get ready for a day filled with FREE live music, family fun zone, arts and crafts, community resources, ethnic food, local talent and more! We're excited to announce our Main Stage Headliners, Sunshine Anderson and Mario, will be wrapping up the event with performances beginning a 6 p.m. For a detailed list of activities and the full main stage schedule, visit our website .  This is an event you sure won't want to miss! Now let's get you prepared with all the important details to make sure you are ready for the day... What T