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 Class."
The 8.6 million-dollar project was an effort led by Durham Parks and Recreation (DPR) to bring a new park and additional soccer fields to the community. It features 25-acres of developed park land, consisting of four natural turf soccer fields, parking with electric vehicle charging stations, a 3,000 square-foot picnic shelter with a ceiling fan, and a restroom facility. With the help of the community, and made possible by the Durham Parks Foundation, DPR hand selected and planted species of grass, plants, shrubs, and trees to strengthen native habitats and to maintain and enhance the existing ecosystem.
The next phase of enhancements scheduled to be complete in early 2023 will be a playground, art sculptures, walking trails, and other park amenities designed to make each person’s visit memorable and enjoyable. The grand opening will be an opportunity for the public to provide feedback on playground design options the community helped select last Fall, as well as preview concept designs for a future entrance sculpture created by resident-selected artists. The ribbon cutting ceremony will feature special recognition of community advocates and stakeholders.
“We are absolutely thrilled to provide the first new park in more than 10 years for all of Durham to enjoy,” said DPR Director Wade Walcutt. “Since we’ve broken ground, we created several opportunities for the Merrick-Moore elementary students and Merrick-Moore neighborhood to tell us exactly what they want and they helped us design many aspects of the park, making it a community-driven process. Although soccer fields are certainly a needed feature for the community, many other amenities have been and will be added making this a park for all to enjoy.”
For more information on the park, rentals, and amenities, visit DPRPlaymore.org or call 919-560-4355.