The new Isabella Cannon Park is officially open! I had the great pleasure of attending the grand opening on Monday night with about 100 other fellow neighbors, kids, city leaders, and Raleigh Parks & Rec staff. Mayor Meeker and Councilman Crowder along with others spoke about Isabella Cannon and congratulated everyone on a job well done with the project. Mayor Meeker noted that Isabella Cannon served as Raleigh’s mayor from 1977-1979 and passed away in 2002 at the age of 97. She was also the first woman to serve as a capital city mayor in the U.S. and was elected during a turning point in Raleigh.
Isabella Cannon Park is located at 2601 Kilgore Ave inside the beltline. Even though there is no parking lot, there is plenty of side-street parking. The main entrance on Kilgore Ave has a very wide path, making it an inviting place to come. There are additional stairway entrances near the intersection of Everett Ave and Gardner St across from the Rose Garden.
Heading up the main entrance path is a beautiful stone entry wall in front of an open field surrounded by a concrete walkway. If you follow the path to the right you’ll see the renovated basketball courts, updated landscaping, playground with swing set, jungle gym, and see saws. The playground has both a mulch base and a sandy area with several picnic tables and benches scattered throughout.
Beyond the playground is a new stairway to the unpaved and more densely wooded area that has a charcoal grill. Continue on and you’ll find the stairs leading up to the entrance at Everett Ave and Gardner St.
If you’re back on the concrete walkway continuing around the open field you should notice the newly planted Knockout Roses behind the entry wall symbolizing Mrs. Cannon’s love for the Rose Garden. Along the walkway there are several comfortable benches to rest on or enjoy the views of the open field (still closed off to allow the grass to grow). Once the grass grows in, it will be a great place for a flag football game! There is a also new pavilion with 4 picnic tables on the far side of the path.
Continuing past the pavilion you’ll come to the most unique feature of the park: a small rock climbing area! The base has some padding to soften any falls and there are rules posted for climbing the rock. According to some of the speakers at the event this is the only park in Raleigh with a rock climbing area. The pathway extends up Kilgore Ave to the intersection of Latta St where the park ends. There are more benches in shady areas and new landscaping to enjoy.
Being at the grand opening really gave me a sense of what a community is all about. The renovations for this park were provided by the 2003 bond referendum and from hearing the speakers thank those involved it sounds like the entire project from soliciting the community’s ideas to developing the master design plan to executing the project achieved the goals that were set forth…bringing a community together! I only wish I had gotten involved with the UPHA years ago.
Thumbs up: rock climbing area, sense of community, pathways, benches, playground, basketball courts, picnic area
Thumbs down: nothing to note