Birds eye view of land where future Devereux Meadows Park will be with white dotted line outlining boundary

Parks

Smoky Hollow Park Project

Envisioning a New Urban Park

The City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department is design phase for a proposed new urban park north of downtown Raleigh.  The project site, known informally for many years as "Devereux Meadow", is a 14-acre City of Raleigh-owned property currently used as a city maintenance yard and vehicle fleet facility.  The City of Raleigh intends to convert this property into a natural and passive urban park.  The approved concept plan for this park includes environmental site remediation, pathways, plazas, natural spaces, extensive native landscaping, improvements to the Pigeon House Branch stream channel and floodplain, and constructed wetlands.

Throughout the Concept Design phase (2021 - 2022), the project was known as “Devereux Meadow Park.”  In November 2022, Raleigh City Council voted to approve renaming the future park to “Smoky Hollow Park.”

Project Updates

During the November 8, 2022 general election, the 2022 Raleigh Parks Bond measure was approved by Raleigh voters.  The 2022 Parks Bond, along with the original project funds from the 2014 Raleigh Parks Bond and other city funding opportunities, provides the capital for project design, permitting, site remediation, and construction.

On November 15, 2022, Raleigh City Council formally approved and adopted the Devereux Meadow Park Concept Plan.  At this same meeting, Council also formally approved the name change to Smoky Hollow Park.

Project Timeline

Planning for the future park began in 2017 with PRCR initiating an analysis of site environmental characteristics, issues, and limitations.  In 2021, using feedback from multiple stakeholders and engagement with the public, three concept alternatives were developed. In 2022, additional rounds of public engagement along with an improved understanding of site constraints resulted in the development of a final concept plan.

Concept Plan

The concept plan proposes converting the entire site into a passive, urban park space offering passive recreation experiences including walking paths, gathering spaces, and naturalized areas. The plan is centered around the restoration of Pigeon House Branch, which includes a new natural alignment of previously culverted portions of the stream in the southern area of the site.

Key features of the concept plan include:

  • Complete removal of existing buildings and pavement
  • Site remediation to address contaminated groundwater and soil
  • Restoration of Pigeon House Branch
    • Daylighting of the culverted sections of the stream
    • Relocating a portion of the stream into a natural alignment
  • Development of a natural and passive park
    • Pathways and plaza areas
    • Flexible gathering spaces in open lawns or wooded areas
    • Various landscape areas including mowed lawns, meadows, ornamental beds, riparian and wooded areas, landscaped buffers, and preservation of an existing oak tree line
    • Graded landforms
    • Stormwater management practices to address on-site and off-site stormwater runoff

See the Resources section at the bottom of this page to download the Concept Plan Report

Please see below for links to previous video presentations and public survey results. 

Draft Concept Plan Video

Draft Concept Plan Survey (closed for comments on March 9, 2022)

Project Details

 
Type:
Parks
Budget:
$13,500,000 (2014 and 2022 Parks Bonds funding)
Project Lead:
Gary Claiborne, Capital Projects Manager
Contractors:
Tetra Tech Engineering (Civil and Environmental Engineering and Consulting), Design Workshop (Landscape Architecture), and Ecosystems Planning and Restoration (Stream and Wetland Restoration Consultants)

Contact

 

Gary Claiborne, Capital Projects Manager

Lead Department:
Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Participating Department:
Engineering Services
Service Unit:
Stormwater

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Public Engagement

Previous Public Engagement

Virtual Open House - Spring 2021

In May 2021, a virtual public open house was held for the proposed Devereux Meadow Park project. A recording of the meeting is available for public viewing on the City of Raleigh YouTube channel. 

A condensed version of this presentation is available here.

A separate video of the history of the Devereux Meadow Park site is also available for viewing.

History

Although today a paved City of Raleigh maintenance facility, the Devereux Meadow site has a rich and complex history that illustrates important moments in Raleigh’s past. 

During the pre-history period, the area near and around Devereux Meadow was used as hunting lands by Native Americans.  Piedmont and Coastal Plain Native Americans may have both crossed paths along the riparian corridor of the present-day Pigeon House Branch to track buffalo and other game.

During the settlement of Raleigh in the 1700s, the site was once a part of the Robert Halton tract and then later owned by the Lane and Mordecai family. Margaret Mordecai and her husband John Devereux, Jr. inherited a piece of her family’s land which is understood to have included the site of present-day Devereux Meadow.  

During the Civil War, the project area included earthwork structures, many of which were built by enslaved people.  Union troops may have camped on the project site which was referred to as “Devereux Grove.”  There is also a later reference to the property having a millpond that was locally referred to as Mordecai’s millpond. 

After the war, several communities developed around this area of Raleigh and the new railroad.  These communities are referred to as Brooklyn and Smoky Hollow.  During the late 1800s, “Devereux Meadow” is mentioned to be a community gathering space by several of the neighborhood churches.  

At the turn of the century, the original Devereux family home, known as Will’s Forest, was demolished.  Several mills were built such as Pilot and Cotton Mill along with houses for the mill workers in the Smoky Hollow community.  In the early 1900s, Devereux Meadow is referred to as a playground and included public ball fields and other recreational uses.  

Nearby neighborhoods such as Smoky Hollow remained in the area until the 1950’s when both African American and white families were forcibly removed from the neighborhood and the homes demolished.

In the 1930s and 1940s, with the help of the WPA, the Devereux Meadow baseball stadium was constructed.  The stadium construction included the burying and channelization of Pigeon House Branch.

The Devereux Meadow stadium was used as a minor league baseball stadium from the late 1930s until it was closed in the early 1970s and eventually demolished in 1979.  Teams that played there include the Raleigh Capitals.  It is understood that several baseball greats, including Carl Yastrzemski, Ted Williams, and Jackie Robinson, played at Devereux Meadow.  Portions of the stadium wall still stand along the western edge of the site.  

Following the demolition of the stadium, the site was converted over to the current city-owned maintenance facility.

The vision for this site as a public park has been around for several years. The Capital Boulevard Corridor Study Report (2012) and the Raleigh Downtown Plan (2015) noted this project as being a priority.

The 2014 Parks Bond Referendum included funding for the current environmental studies and park planning and design phases.  Construction for the park is currently unfunded. 

Schedule

Date Activity
2017 - 2020 Site Environmental Analysis
2020 - 2022 Site Planning, Conceptual Design, Stakeholder and Community Engagement
2023 - 2025 Park Design and Permitting
2025 - 2027 Site Construction (planned)

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