Newly renovated Pullen Park in Raleigh worth the wait
Posted November 19, 2011
Raleigh, N.C. — After two years and about $6 million in renovations, the ever popular, century-old Pullen Park in Raleigh reopened Saturday with a new train station, entrance, event spaces, picnic shelters, shelter for the historic carousel and playgrounds.
Pam Aycock brought her daughter and grandchildren to the reopening ceremony and ribbon cutting at 2 p.m., and couldn't help taking a stroll down memory lane.
"I was just telling my daughter that I came here when I was a little girl," Aycock said. "My mother worked for the phone company and they used to have their company picnic here."
Kristen Wofford said she loves being able to share Pullen Park with her children.
"I have vivid memories of being here as a child, looking back at pictures," she said. "I am excited about them being able to experience it as well."
Lake Howell was drained and dredged in 2001 to allow the city to install a geothermal energy system. The system uses heat from the ground to warm water that helps heat and cool the carousel building.
The renovations took months longer than expected, with several construction delays, but visitors said it was worth the wait.
"I really like it. I mean, it's wonderful," Madison Beasley said.
Philip Stocks agreed.
"It's so nice. I can't say enough about it. They've done such an awesome job," he said.
Wofford said she plans to visit the park again with her children soon.
"We are so excited," she said. "We'll be back for sure."
More than 1 million people visited the park in 2009, and 500,000 rode the carousel, miniature train and other rides.
Pullen Park is the 91st most visited park in the United States, according to the Trust for Public Land’s Center for City Park Excellence.