Bull City’s First ADA-Accessible Playground Gets Updates Plus Signature, Permanent Public Art
DURHAM, N.C. – Visitors to Morreene Road Park should notice some new renovations and new public art thanks to a just-completed project to improve this City of Durham park.
Named after the historic “Morreene Dairy,” which used to stand nearby, Durham Parks and Recreation’s Morreene Road Park is home to baseball and softball fields, basketball courts, picnic shelters, and tennis courts. The 11.96 acre park is also the site of Durham’s very first purpose-built ADA accessible play structure. This playground features safety ramps, a Braille clock and alphabet, and a flat rubber surface that is firm enough for wheelchairs.
The City’s General Services Department just completed renovations to the groundscape and athletic courts and improvements to the park including a full reconstruction of the double tennis courts, removal of old asphalt around the playground, the addition of new ADA-accessible pedestrian pathways, and the installation of a signature, permanent public art piece that spans throughout the railing and sidewalks of the park. The total cost for these renovations is approximately $418,000.
A Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to design this public art piece was issued in January 2019 to honor Morreene Road Park’s history. The Selection Panel prioritized artists and artist teams whose work reflected awareness and understanding of people with disabilities. Out of 12 applicants, two artists were selected to move forward into creating an initial design concept. After a jurying process, the City’s Public Art Committee and Artist Selection Panel selected local artist Muriel Epling to design, fabricate, and install public art at Morreene Road Park with a budget of $3,500. Her design includes a textured wall showcasing the American Sign Language alphabet and “Play More” spelled out by relief sculptures of hands, design elements along the safety railing, and stamped stencils along the sidewalk pairing with the tactile, mosaic figures on the textured wall.
The park, located at 1102 Morreene Road, is open daily from dawn to dusk and is available for athletic court and picnic shelter rentals. For more information, visit Durham Parks and Recreation’s website.
About Durham Parks and Recreation
Durham Parks and Recreation provides opportunities for the Durham community to ‘Play More’ by connecting the whole community to wellness, the outdoors, and lifelong learning. To learn more follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, or call (919) 560-4355.
About the City of Durham General Services Department
The General Services Department builds and maintains City properties to make Durham a great place for people to live, work, and play. Guided by the City’s Strategic Plan, the department’s core functions include the acquisition and sale of properties, design and management of new construction and renovation projects, building maintenance, landscaping and urban forestry services, cemeteries management, sustainability and energy management, cultural and public art program management, and supporting the nonprofit Keep Durham Beautiful.
About the City of Durham Public Art Committee
The Public Art Committee serves as an advisory board to the Durham City Council and the City manager, and its functions include assisting the City’s General Services Department on matters relating to public art; implementation of the Public Art Policy; reviewing proposals for public art projects brought to it by City administration; and making recommendations to the Cultural Advisory Board regarding project approvals. To further help artists connect with opportunities, the City has a Durham Calls for Artists page on its website, which lists a number of upcoming opportunities for artists in and around Durham. Artists and other stakeholders who would like to be notified of current and future art-related opportunities and news can now sign up for alerts through the Cultural and Public Art mailing list. For more information about the City’s Public Art Program, visit the City’s public art web page. Artists interested in more information about the Public Art program may also contact Division Manager Stacey Poston with the Arts, Culture, and Sustainable Communities Division of City’s General Services Department at (919) 560-4197, ext. 21254 or by email.