Mebane Community Park in North Carolina
The city of Mebane, North Carolina's industrial past was bolstered by the implementation of a central rail line in the mid-1800s. The forms of rail lines and switching yards served as inspiration for the pavement forms and spaces for the main plaza and program areas of the new Mebane Community Park. Varying integral colored concrete bands accentuate these forms, define programmatic spaces, and highlight the main pedestrian promenade that leads park patrons from the main parking area to the park pavilion structure and entrance to the athletic field complex. The project also strived to embrace the brand standards recently adopted by the town leadership. Brand colors and forms were implemented into the playground surfaces, and concrete pavements in the central plaza areas.
Design and Master Planning Process
The planning process began with a collaborative stakeholder engagement that included numerous meetings with the selected Mebane Community Park Steering Committee. The committee consisted of city staff, recreation and parks staff, council members, and citizens. This diverse group provided the design team with valuable perspective on proposed master plan options. The city and design team also facilitated community meetings to gain input from citizens on program elements, site materials, and site layout to ensure that the community's vision aligned with the preferred plan. Information gathered from these meetings was summarized and served as the foundation for the proposed preferred master plan option. A major component of the preferred master plan option was to provide a park design that kept vehicular and service areas at the perimeter of the park allowing for pedestrian connections between central program spaces to be unencumbered by vehicular traffic.
Program and Park Elements
The design team was challenged with providing a diverse arrangement of park elements that appealed to all ages and walks of life, while also filling the towns critical need for more active recreation fields. A splash pad, playground, park pavilion structure, multipurpose lawn, and lawn amphitheatre were integrated into the main central open space. Additionally, a network of perimeter walking trails provide a 1/2-mile park perimeter loop greenway. The park design balances both passive and active recreation. The design team collaborated to provide a park design that provided pedestrian and park spaces uninterrupted by parking, service, and entry drives. The park design also includes critical infrastructure improvements including a main park entrance design to the highway to the south and a new connection to an adjacent residential area and downtown to the east.
Located on the west side of downtown Mebane, the park serve's as a destination and event center for city events and festivals. The splash pad was designed to be adjacent to the lawn amphitheatre on the upper end of the lawn to provide additional seating for larger performances and also to provide accessible seating areas for wheelchair patrons. The splashpad has minimal permanent above ground features thus can function as an open event plaza for performances and festivals when turned off.
As seen in LASN magazine, March 2021.