by Jason Y. Lee
After months of scrappy debate, Durham’s Parks and Recreation department tonight is expected to unveil the fate of Old North Durham Park, a 3.6-acre space at Geer and Foster streets. The city has scheduled a community meeting for 7 p.m. at the downtown Durham Armory, 212 Foster St.
The park currently hosts the only full-sized soccer field in downtown, and one of only a dozen full-sized fields in the city. The space is owned by the city and shared the Central Park School for Children charter school. The soccer field is used by soccer leagues and residents for frequent pickup games, particularly Latinos.
Area residents, activists and supporters of the school have bumped heads on proposed redesigns of the park. Last fall, the Friends of Old North Durham Park, a coalition of neighborhood groups spearheaded by Central Park School for Children, presented a plan to overhaul the park and add community gardens, a picnic shelter and trail. But the plans called for the soccer field to be down-sized. Other users of the park, backed by activists from El Kilombo Intergalático, criticized the plans as gentrification.
Community groups calling for a full-sized soccer field will gather for a rally today at 6 p.m. at CCB Plaza, 201 N. Corcoran St., and will march to the 7 p.m. city meeting.