Black Wall Street Gardens Improvements

IMG_1958The City of Durham will make lighting, landscaping, and walkway improvements to the City-owned green space at 102 West Main Street. The changes are being sought in accordance with the City Council-approved 2014 Downtown Open Space Plan, and are intended to further make the space welcoming and inviting, and to further develop the site as the “southern node of an enhanced linear park connecting City Hall to Main Street.” *  


102 West Main Street. The green spaces is bounded by Main Street, Mangum Street, and Parrish Street.

Project Description

Lighting: The project will add twelve, artistically-designed path lights along a newly-designed walkway through the space. The lights are approximately 38 ¼” in height, with a mercury metallic finish. The lights will be LED, and cast clean illumination onto the pathway.  They will be situated approximately 25’ apart, and will light the main walkway, the new block-paved “center,” and the pathway entrance to 107 W. Parrish Street, which houses the adjacent business Empower Dance Studio.

Walkway Improvements: The existing walkway will be moved and reconfigured. In its place will be a new, curvilinear path, 6’ wide, with block pavers.  There will be two paver types, 12” square and 24” square, re-purposed from General Services and will blend with existing pavers. The project will add two new entrances into the space; one, unpaved entrance that leads directly into the new, larger open green space area, and another that allows people to enter the space at the northeast corner of the space (at the intersection of Parrish St/Mangum St).  At the intersection of the walkway will be a larger paved area, creating a “center” for the space and allowing for more movable and stationary seating. This paved center is also expected to be the location of a future public art piece (to be added in a later phase). Moving the walkway will allow for a larger open green space for social gathering, informal performance, and free play. There will also be a block paver walkway leading to the entrance of the 107 West Parrish Street (occupied by the Empower Dance Studio).

Tree Additions: With consultation with the City’s Urban Forestry Manager, there will be the following tree additions: 4 Black Gum trees around the new paved center; 3 Black Gum trees near the Main Street entrance; 2 Black Gum shade trees just west of the Main Street walkway entrance; and 4 Crepe Myrtles along the North Mangum St. street yard. A number of trees that were dying have been removed.

Expected Completion

Site Improvements will begin October 17, 2018 and will continue for approximately two weeks. Tree replacements will occur during the planting season, roughly between Thanksgiving and late February.

The public art will be installed in a later phase, with installation expected in 2019.


The total cost of the lighting will be approximately $60,000, which includes a $10,000 donation from an anonymous local resident for the walkway improvements. The public art will be funded from the City's Public Art Fund.