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Pullen Park rides to close for overhaul

Posted May 7, 2009

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— Pullen Park, a popular outdoor attraction for local families, will close for much of next year while city crews overhaul the rides and amenities at the south end of the park.

The upgrades, which include a new shelter for the park's historic carousel, are expected to cost about $7 million. Voters approved much of that in a 2003 bond proposal.

Pullen Park paddleboats on lake Pullen Park upgrade to shut down rides

The shutdown will be the first lengthy closure at Pullen Park since it was founded in 1887 as the first public park in North Carolina.

Hillary Wayne, a nanny, said she and her young charge, Ellory Ferguson, visit Pullen Park at least once a week for a ride on the carousel and the paddle boats.

"It's pretty unique. I don't know where we'd go that would offer the same types of things," Wayne said.

Carl Speller hosts lunches for business clients at the park.

"That's going to be a tough one," Speller said. "I guess it'll give everyone a chance to venture out into other parks to see the other environments they have here in Wake County."

He said he's looking forward to a new concession stand at the park.

"It would make the system work better. I think a small face-lift would do it well," he said.

Plans for the overhaul haven't been finalized, and the city expects to offer the public a chance to comment this fall on the changes.

Aside from weather-related closings, Pullen Park hasn't shut down to the public for an extended period.

In August 2006, the lake and boats were closed for several days after 10 ducks died. The train also shut down that year because of vandals.

In October 2002, the carousel was closed for several months for renovations. Crews had to remove lead paint from the ride that could pose a danger to children.

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  • cerebrate May 8, 2009

    I would rather the city spend money on fixing the park and the roads we have that are having trouble than on extending the city limits and maintaining roads that are 30-40 minutes away from downtown. Why don't we complain about the continued extensions of 540? a road that will clearly become obsolete within the next 10-15 years as people learn that it is simply not effective to leave 30-40 minutes from where you work. Hillsborough is a walking street, it has always been a walking street, and the roundabouts planned to go in it will be much more conducive to cars moving at a speed not dangerous for pedestrians and will add more greenspace to beautify and cool the area down. In addition, it will decrease the danger at the intersections and the length of time it takes to turn. People should be careful what they call useless before something they care about gets called useless by others.

  • joannaglass May 8, 2009

    Our children need safe parks to play in. Without them there is no area for community. That said it wont change the filth there. The sand pit is still and will still be a huge ashtray, the entire area is covered with cigarettes and litter and last two times I have rented shelters, there were condoms and cigarettes everywhere. I have traveled all over the globe and have never seen parks as filthy as the ones in North Carolina. It is very sad to see.

  • SaveEnergyMan May 8, 2009

    I am sure glad that Raleigh is not letting the lack of revenue get in the way of doing non-essential projects like Pullen Park and Hillsborough St. I know that it is bond money, but bond money has to be paid back. I am not against doing the projects, but maybe in a year or two when things get better. This is like a family purchasing that big screen TV on the home equity line when one parent just got laid off. At best, it looks irresponsible.