Location: Raleigh, NC | Client: City of Raleigh | Project Date: March 2012 – May 2014
Links and Resources
John Chavis Memorial Park, constructed in 1937, played a significant role as the only park of its size and cultural significance in the southeast region for African-Americans during Jim Crow-era segregation. Over time, the park lost much of its iconic luster, along with amenities important to the local community leading to community frustration and distrust of city staff. In 2012, the City of Raleigh began a master planning process incorporating Raleigh’s new Public Participation in Park Master Planning Guidance. To manage this contentious stakeholder process, the City hired Skeo as a neutral third party who could navigate the complexities of the City’s historic racial divide in order to ensure the park would have a future as a public space meeting the needs of the diverse populations in its surrounding neighborhoods.
Skeo led an 18-month multi-stakeholder dialogue and facilitated a Public Leadership Group (PLG) composed of local stakeholders from diverse backgrounds to serve as leaders to build wider interest and investment in the park’s future from the local neighborhoods and residents. Skeo led cultural competence and collaborative problem-solving trainings with the PLG and City of Raleigh staff to encourage better working relationships, which resulted in effective communication and teamwork among the PLG, the City, and the local community. To aid in effective community outreach, Skeo built an extensive website with project resources, updated announcements, and meeting information and materials. The final outcome was a vision of the park as a downtown destination celebrating the rich cultural heritage and promoting health for all ages through recreation.
In May 2014, Raleigh City Council voted to unanimously adopt the revised master plan for John Chavis Memorial Park. The master plan reflects a shared vision for the park’s future and a comprehensive set of design recommendations. Recently in May 2016, John Chavis Memorial Park was added to the National Register of Historic Places. As the project moved into schematic design, Skeo was retained on the design team to continue facilitating the public engagement process and maintain project support and positive community relations.