DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN)- A new 50-acre park in Durham will open this weekend, and the park’s name will pay honor to two prominent Black figures.
Durham Parks and Recreation will host a Grand Opening Celebration for Merrick-Moore Park at 632 N. Hoover Road on Saturday, June 18 at 10 a.m.
The park is named for the neighboring community named after John Merrick and Dr. Aaron McDuffie Moore. Merrick was co-founder and president of the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company. The company became the largest Black-owned business in the country.
Moore was the city’s first Black physician and played a key role in establishing Durham’s Black Wall Street, the Durham Colored Library, and the Lincoln Hospital, the first Black-run hospital in the city.
The city said both men are credited with earning Durham a reputation as the “Capital of the Black Middle Class.”
The park’s construction came at a cost of $8.6 million. It features 25-acres of developed park land, 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.
Durham says park was made possible by the Durham Parks Foundation.
More enhancements are scheduled to be complete in early 2023. Those changes include a playground, art sculptures, walking trails and other park amenities.
During Saturday’s grand opening, the public will be invited to share feedback on playground design options and preview concept designs for a future entrance sculpture.
“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.”