The Plaza & Play project at Dix Park - 2021-07-14T153636.446

3D model of Plaza & Play by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates

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Tuesday night, the City of Raleigh unveiled its final design for the Plaza & Play project at Dorothea Dix Park. Matt Urbanski, a landscape architect and partner at Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, walked the public through a 3D model of the site plan.

A quick background: The City of Raleigh + Dix Park Conservancy are on a mission to create the best destination park in the world. Their goal is to create “a park for everyone, built by everyone.”

In February 2019, the city council adopted the Dorothea Dix Park Master Plan, which included the Plaza & Play. Since the project began, the team has received feedback from over 65,000 area residents on the future of the park.


The nitty-gritty: The Plaza & Play is ~18 acres on the southern edge of Dix Park (along Lake Wheeler Road). It will be a public space for all ages and abilities + feature a civic plaza, fountains, gardens, and areas to relax with family and friends.

  • Fountain Plaza will feature a large amphitheater + waterfall that children are welcome to play in.
  • NC Playground will feature an 18 ft tube slide, a net climber, and several wooden towers. There will also be a sand play area and sensory maze, filled with engaging objects (such as a walk-in kaleidoscope + dance chimes).
  • Picnic Grove will feature wooden picnic tables, built-in grilles, plenty of shade + overhead string lights.
  • The Yard will be anchored by The House of Many Porches + feature a terrace for bird watching, a cutting garden with herbs + apple trees, and wetlands.

What we’re most excited about: The temporary dog park at Dix Park will be permanent. However, it will be moved to make way for the Plaza & Play. The new location will be announced in September.

The timeline: Construction will begin July 2022 + take ~2 years to complete.


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