RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The City of Raleigh continues to develop the more than 300-acre park they acquired in 2015. The city hopes Dorothea Dix Park will be “America’s next great public park”. They’ve started work on their master plan to reach that goal.

Later this month, the city will break ground on one of their project at Dix Park. A groundbreaking ceremony for Gipson Play Plaza is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 14.

The 18.5-acre plaza will feature a collection of playgrounds and gathering spaces for various ages. The area will include:
•    Climbing towers
•    Waterfall wall
•    Civic plaza that can be used for festivals and performances 
•    Picnic grove 
•    Swing terrace 
•    Historic house with concessions

“The Gipson Play Plaza will feature exciting one-of-a-kind play spaces, a family-friendly picnic grove, a restored historic house and gardens, and an amazing water play mountain that will keep the kids entertained for hours,” says Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin. “When people experience this space, they will fully understand the potential of Dix Park — and what it means to the future of our City.”

Also in the works is a renovation of the Greg Poole, Jr. All Faiths Chapel.

Gregory Poole Equipment Company recently said they would donate $1.1 million in support of the renovation. Dix Park Conservancy, the nonprofit that supports the city’s operation of Dix Park, said GPEC has now become one of Dix Park’s 22 Founding Partners.

The conservancy said GPEC donated equipment so local artist Joseph Giampino could complete the colorful “It Starts Here!” mural near the site of the future Gipson Play Plaza.

Dix Park Conservancy Board Chair, Orage Quarles said, “We’re thrilled to have Gregory Poole Equipment Company as a Founding Partner in our work to create America’s next great park.”

The city is currently studying the feasibility of restoring and enhancing the Rocky Branch, according to the conservancy. The 5,400-foot-long waterway runs along the northern edge of the park. Restoring the creek is the most complex part of the park’s master plan.

The conservancy says the primary objective for restoring Rocky Branch is “to create a nature escape for park-goers in the heart of the city, enhance aquatic habitat and ecosystem functioning, and highlight the ecology of the region, all while respecting our downstream neighbors.”

The second is to provide design input to support the State’s efforts to close the neighboring landfill. Part of the project will re-design the landfill area for park programs and activities including athletic fields.