Chavis Park had it’s grand opening ceremony on June 12 and the timing couldn’t be better. This is where area kids need to spend their summers as the combination of the big playground and the large splash pad make it necessary for multiple visits when the weather is hot.
If you haven’t been following, the playground, splash pad, and community center was completely rebuilt and is now open to the public. The center includes a gym, walking track, and gymnasium as well as several multi-purpose rooms. There’s a nice second-floor space with a balcony with a great view and the skyline pops over the park edge’s tree canopy.
The historic carousel house was also given a refresh and is now a meeting space. With the existing carousel, playground, and splash pad, this makes Chavis a nice spot for parents to bring kids to spend a few hours on hot days.
There are still more plans for Chavis as the master plan was broken up into multiple phases and this work only covers phase 1. In the future, Chavis may get more outdoor courts, maybe tennis and pickleball, play areas, and an aquatic center.
I’m hoping energy and positive experiences in the near future could drum up support for bringing the other aspects of the master plan to bear. I still believe that Chavis could be the park for downtown Raleigh residents as it plans to provide services and amenities that nearby destination park Dix won’t have. (or at least won’t have for awhile)
In case you’ve missed it, a big piece of Chavis Park is getting a complete overhaul and there’s plenty to spy over the construction fencing these days. While you can’t exactly walk around the construction due to the creek, you can easily get a sense of how much is being worked on.
Some quick history, Chavis Park is being renovated with money from a previous parks bond. The scope includes:
Building a new gym
Building a new community center
Building a new central plaza with splash pad
Rebuilding the playground area
Renovating the original carousel house
During this phase (more construction phases to come in the future) the former splash pad and outdoor pool have been removed but a future aquatics center is planned.
Below is the front of the new community center as seen standing right next to the existing carousel house. The rendering and aerial shot come from the city’s website on the project.
The old playground is gone and the area seems to be used to hold equipment for now. Same goes for the parking lot.
The former carousel house has also been emptied out. Renovation work was much needed on this structure.
It’s been pretty obvious if you follow the news the Dix Park gets a lot of attention and people want to find ways to connect downtown Raleigh to Dix Park. They often overlook the immediate availability and access that Chavis has offered for years.
With a new community center, gym, plaza, and playground for kids, Chavis delivers that community space in the near future as Dix goes on its decades-long journey to become a destination park. It’s a perfect compliment to having spaces for all in and around downtown Raleigh.
Phase 1 construction is planned to complete in Spring 2021. Phase 2 funding is actually tentatively planned for a park bond this year.
Downtown Raleigh and Chavis Park, photo by Lift Aerial
One could argue that Chavis Park is basically downtown Raleigh’s main park. A new master plan for the historic park that sits to the southeast of the city’s center has been in the works for most of last year and the final meeting on the phase 1 improvements is next week.
Park development steps, beginning with Phase 1 design plans, will be underway in the summer of 2016 when there will be a follow-up public review session. Construction documentation, engineering, and permitting, will then follow, preparing for Phase 1 construction in late 2017.
We’ll take a look at John Chavis Memorial Park and how it currently ties into the fabric of downtown later but to dive into it now, take a look at these links and get over to the meeting.
John Chavis Memorial Park Master Plan Implementation
Date/Time: Tuesday, February 16 from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
3:30 pm Presentation* 4-6:30 pm Open House 6:30 pm Presentation (repeated)*
*The presentations at 3:30 and 6:30 will be the same, so you can choose which works best for your schedule.
John Chavis Community Center
505 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
Raleigh, NC 27601