It's your space!
Announcing Artist Selection!
We're thrilled to be working with Tiffany Baker, a talented Chicago-Born, Brooklyn-based visual artist, on the Bailey Drive Gateway temporary site installation. Visit our Get Involved section to learn how you can participate!
About the Project
What is happening?
Parks with Purpose, a program of The Conservation Fund, is a community-led planning and development project in partnership with the City of Raleigh that seeks to develop further the ideas and principles contained within the Walnut Creek Wetland Park Master Plan, specifically the southern park edge along Bailey Drive. Parks with Purpose aims to create a southern gateway to Walnut Creek Wetland Park that reflects and incorporates the local history and cultural significance of the Rochester Heights and Biltmore Hills neighborhoods adjacent to the park. The Conservation Fund will be providing funding for construction of the Bailey Drive Gateway project.
Who is involved?
This project is being developed through a public-private partnership led by The Conservation Fund, with the North Carolina Water Resources Research Institute, Partners for Environmental Justice, the Walnut Creek
Wetland Community Partnership, and the City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources department. Partners have engaged residents who are participating in the Parks with Purpose Community Task Force.
What is being done?
The Bailey Drive Gateway at Walnut Creek Wetland Park project is focused on increasing access to greenspace for Southeast Raleigh residents. With the community and project partners, the project aims to:
Provide a southern gateway with pedestrian and bicycle connections to the Walnut Creek Wetland Park and Walnut Creek Trail.
Provide opportunities for environmental education, access to open space, and intergenerational engagement.
Give the Rochester Heights and Biltmore Hills neighborhoods a place to tell their story through cultural and historical elements that will be incorporated into the site design.
Where is the project?
Bailey Drive Gateway is a 10-acre wooded site in a low-lying area of the Rochester Heights neighborhood in Southeast Raleigh. It is the southernmost portion of the Walnut Creek Wetland Park.
Final Concept Design
It's your space!
The design teams developed two concept designs for the Bailey Drive Gateway site with help from the
Parks with Purpose Community Task Force and feedback from Rochester Heights and Biltmore Hills neighbors.
Below is the final conceptual design chosen by community members! Use the arrows to see more images.
This design will be built in phases over time. More detailed site designs will be developed
in Fall 2020, and Phase 1 construction could begin as early as Spring 2021.
Final Concept Design
A Walk in the Neighborhood
Share Your Neighborhood Story
The Bailey Drive Gateway project at Walnut Creek Wetland Park gives current and former residents of the historic Rochester Heights and Biltmore Hills neighborhoods a place to tell their story.
Our project team has been honored to interview long-time neighborhood residents and record their oral histories during the spring and summer of 2020. Audio and video recordings are below. Between 2007 and 2018, the non-profit Partners for Environmental Justice also recorded oral histories of Rochester Heights neighbors, along with people who knew the land before the neighborhood was built in 1957. PEJ has generously shared those recordings and transcripts, also posted below.
Thank you to those who shared their stories! These memories offer important insights into local history and culture and will be incorporated into art and design elements in the Bailey Drive Gateway.
We invite you to explore the stories below and to share your own memories. Big or small — from local activism, to your memories of family gardens, holiday gatherings and neighborhood barbecues — every story is significant. If interested, call Jackie Turner at (919) 307-5942 to learn more and to schedule a time to talk.
Photo Album and Interview Highlights
Click the arrows to move through interview highlights and images of some of our interviewees:
Bailey Drive Gateway Project Audio and Transcripts (2020)
Below are partial edited transcripts and unedited audio collected by the Bailey Drive Gateway project team. Most interviews were conducted and recorded over the phone. Additional material will be added here as it is collected and edited — check back for more!
Elaine Peebles Brown Transcript (PDF)
Freddie Hicks Transcript (PDF)
Bettie Thompson Transcript (PDF)
Partners for Environmental Justice Audio and Transcripts (2007-2018)
Below are fully edited audio clips and combined transcripts from a series of oral histories collected by Partners for Environmental Justice (PEJ) with Exploris Middle School.
Oral History Credit: Frank McKay, Partners for Environmental Justice, 813 Darby Street, Raleigh, NC 27610-4017,
Combined PEJ Transcripts (PDF)
Project Partners & History
In 2018 The Conservation Fund created a Raleigh Parks with Purpose Community Task Force to identify opportunities for serving the Rochester Heights and Biltmore Hills neighborhoods through park, green infrastucture and other social and environmental projects. The task force included neighborhood residents and representatives from The Conservation Fund, the City of Raleigh, Partners for Environmental Justice and the Walnut Creek Wetland Community Partnership, a coalition coordinated by the NC Water Resources Research Institute and the NC State University College of Natural Resources. The City of Raleigh had completed its Walnut Creek Wetland Park Master Plan the previous year, and with support from graduate students in the NC State Department of Landscape Architecture, the task force narrowed its geographic focus to the Bailey Drive Gateway site, the southernmost portion of the Walnut Creek Wetland Park. The design team was selected in Summer 2019, and work to continue community conversations and develop design concepts began in October. The public voted on initial site concepts, and a final concept design was unveiled in Summer 2020.
Next up is the development of more detailed site designs so that the conceptual design can be built in phases over time. Phase 1 construction could begin as early as Spring 2021. In the meantime, an artist or team of artists will be chosen to design and construct a temporary site installation — to highlight community stories and allow neighbors to begin using the Bailey Drive Gateway site!
We want to hear from you! Here are a few ways to make your voice heard:
Tiffany Baker was selected by committee to design a temporary site installation due to her unique focus on the creative retelling of the rich oral histories gathered from Rochester Heights and Biltmore Hills. The art installation will activate the site, providing a place for gathering, reflection, interaction and learning. If you are interested in volunteering alongside Tiffany during the production and installation phases of the project please email Corey Dodd at
Vote for your favorite Bailey Drive Gateway concept. After reviewing the two design concepts, play the Budget Game or leave a comment at the bottom of the page to let us know your ideas and preferences.
Report local flooding. Rochester Heights and Biltmore Hills have a history of flooding and stormwater issues. Click here to report flooding in your neighborhood, to help inform the current and future work of the City of Raleigh Stormwater Management Division.