Dowdy Park takes shape as it heads for May grand opening

By on November 28, 2016

The Pavilion is almost finished. (Rob Morris)

Construction work at Dowdy Park is continuing ahead of schedule, and for passersby, the much-anticipated project is beginning to take shape from the ground up.

More than two-thirds of the installation of the 2- to 5-year-old and 5- to 12-year-old playground areas is complete. The event plaza, pavilion superstructure and site grading are also nearly done, along with the sidewalks and trellises.

“We are on track as far as base bid work goes,” Town Engineer David Ryan said of the first phase of the $1.5 million project.

Contractors, he said, have been working diligently on-site and have been mobilizing subcontractors to get the work completed. The park is slated to have a “soft opening” Easter weekend with a grand opening scheduled for mid-May.

“Dunes” will feature poured-in-place rubber. (David Ryan)

The park will feature a number of interactive play elements, including a chalk wall, several “dunes” with a poured-in-place rubber surface and a log stepping path.

“The path meanders throughout the park,” Ryan said. It includes wood pylons and incorporates log stamps that are impressed into the concrete surface. These items and other work had to be completed before installation of the playground equipment could begin.

Phase one of the three-phase project began in August and includes the playground, play elements, sidewalks and parking lot. This initial phase will meet the mid-January deadline, Ryan said.

“The divisions of work were staggered to minimize potential conflicts and conduct preparatory activities in advance of each subsequent phase of construction,” he said/.

An oodle swing. (David Ryan)

Along with a $250,000 grant from the Outer Banks Tourism Board, the town received a $750,000 grant from Trillium Health Resources. Under terms of the Trillium grant, the inclusive playground must be completed by Jan. 15.

All site work will also be completed at that time, Ryan said, and irrigation and landscaping should be finished by the beginning of April.

Dowdy Park is located on a 5-acre parcel on the corner of S. Croatan Highway and Bonnet Street, across from the Outer Banks Family YMCA and adjacent to Nags Head Elementary School. The project will feature children’s play and garden areas, green space, a pavilion and events plaza, playing field, sport court, trails and creative components for art displays.

The town is footing the bill for roughly a third of the project. This summer, commissioners approved a budget amendment of $214,420 in additional funds to help fund the project.

The town purchased the site, formerly Dowdy’s amusement park, in 2013 for $1.5 million.

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