, 2023-05-23 04:00:30,
As you pull into Blackwood Farm Park’s new parking lot from NC-86, you’ll see a large new structure: a picnic shelter with a slanted roof framed by wooden slats.
According to Orange County Director of the Department of Environment, Agriculture and Parks and Recreation David Stancil, the picnic shelter is not the only new addition to the park.
“This is what we call phase two construction of Blackwood Farm Park, ” he said. “So this large picnic shelter that we’re in can also double as a second stage for music events. And then there’s also a large amphitheater back in the distance, new restrooms and a new discovery trail that was built as part of this.”
Phase one of the park’s construction took place when it first opened for limited hours in 2015, with limited parking and facilities. Blackwood Farm Park then closed in 2021 for a $2.8 million renovation focused on the addition of two outdoor structures, a trail with informational signage, restroom facilities, a new turn lane and parking lot and the restoration of some of its historic farm buildings.
This renovation period stretched longer than expected due to supply chain issues caused by the pandemic.
“We fell behind schedule waiting on things as simple as windows for the Rangers unit, electrical panel boxes, all sorts of things that were on container shipped somewhere in the ocean and just couldn’t get them here so it it took longer than expected, but I think that’s been true with a lot of construction projects the last year or two,” Stancil said.
One of the major goals of the renovation was to preserve the history and integrity of the park, while adding modern structures that could support large gatherings and events. Architect Ellen Cassilly said she drew inspiration from the old farmhouse buildings on the property when designing the picnic shelter and amphitheater.
“We wanted to take cues from the existing buildings,” said Cassilly. “So if you look at, actually you can see the lovely building down here with the slats and the diagonal, so taking cues from that as how we could reinterpret that in the picnic structure and then likewise the backdrop of the amphitheater is a concrete wall and it’s kind of a a modern reinterpretation of the old farm…
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