Local News

Pullen Park facelift is paying off

Posted August 5, 2012

— A $6.3 million renovation at Raleigh's premier park is paying off for the city. Since reopening in November, Pullen Park has brought in about $725,000 in ticket sales alone.

Before the facelift, the 66-acre park averaged between $500,000 and $600,000 per year in ticket sales, concessions and shelter rentals. Ticket prices have remained the same.

Michael Dantonio has been visiting the park for nearly three decades – first with his own children, now with his grandchildren.

"It's more fun coming as a grandparent, and the park is a lot nicer," he said. 

The park now features a climate-controlled carousel house, updated playground, new train and handicap access.

"(It) seems very kid friendly, stroller friendly," said mother Kelli Hemmerlein. "(There are) nice ramps. Everyone can walk around."

Renovation ups profits at Raleigh park Renovation ups profits at Raleigh park

Park officials say the renovation, which took about two years to complete, brought the grounds into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Bob Sherman said the park is a big summertime attraction for his family.

"It's great. We come about every other week or every third week," he said. "(It's) absolutely worth it. It's awesome."


This story is closed for comments.

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  • robertsbetsy3 Aug 7, 2012

    Pullen Park is a historic part of our capital city, so it should be preserved. It serves as a common area where people can gather and have fun. My husband enjoyed it 50+ years ago (he can still pick out the horse he road on the carousel), and so did my twin boys when they were younger. We always considered it a great deal with the amount of fun we had. It's about making memories.

  • Lightfoot3 Aug 7, 2012

    "paying off" doesn't mean they have to actually generate all the money to pay for the renovations. The city has a budget to spend and they used that money to spruce up the park. They don't have to raise more money to replace it. It's "paying off" in that people are using it and enjoying it, and it's bringing in good revenue too.

  • Lightfoot3 Aug 7, 2012

    "Why cant people just walk and enjoy their own back yard and save 6 million dollars." - superman

    Not everyone can afford acres of backyard. Not everyone can afford the landscaping. Not everyone can afford to put in a train, or a pond with paddleboats, etc., into their backyard. Many live in apartments with no backyards. Pullen Park is a good thing.

  • dwntwnboy Aug 7, 2012

    "enjoy their own back yard and save 6 million dollars"- with all the condos and apartment, people don't HAVE back yards. We have parks for the public good. The number of people going to the park speaks for itself that people enjoy and actually use it- even before the makeover, it was well used- and has been for generations.

  • All the People Aug 6, 2012

    "Too expensive... I'll take myself to a free one."

    The park is free. The rides are what cost money, but that is how it works most places.

  • superman Aug 6, 2012

    They should have demolished the park and built a conventiion center. Or on second thought a big entertainment center like they built in RM. Why cant Raleight do as well as RM. Why cant people just walk and enjoy their own back yard and save 6 million dollars. There are thousands of people who pay city taxes who will never visit the park or have any interest in it.

  • romneycare Aug 6, 2012

    Too expensive... I'll take myself to a free one.

  • dwntwnboy Aug 6, 2012

    Parks are a GOOD thing- I have no problem with Pullen being renovated- it needed it. With the amount of people that go through Pullen every year, I would say the city got it's money's worth and THEN some. They won't need to renovate Pullen for a very long time now- and it's been a LONG time since they last renovated the park. Parks increase home values, quality of life and give us green spaces to play and walk. Can't see a downside to the money spent at Pullen- it's been there over a hundred years already, and STILL bringing em in, my 92 yr old grandmother used to ride the carosel when she was younger- how many other things in our city have lasted THIS long and provide THIS much pleasure over the years?

  • chivegas Aug 6, 2012

    This title should read: Pullen Park, another city boondoggle...

    "Yeah, it's paying off, and at that rate it will only take about 24 years to pay off the entire $6.3 million investment."

    You're assuming they sell the same amount of tickets every year. That won't be the case. Just like any new store or restaurant that opens, there's a plateau, and then it drops off. Odds are they'll be lucky to sell 60% of this amount of tickets in two years. There's also interest to consider and increasing costs for OpExs.

    Truth be told, this will likely never pay for itself. They should have raised prices to take advantage of the buzz and generate $.

    Don't get me wrong, I like Pullen park, but I also liked it before.

  • baracus Aug 6, 2012

    Why is it important how long it takes to recoup the money it cost to do the renovations? The city spends many more times that a year on new roads, parks, and other infrastructure as well as maintaining existing infrastructure all of which DIRECTLY generates no revenue at all!