July 09, 2019
Picture This: Mary Belle Pate Park
By: Kayla Baldino
Mary Belle Pate Park is a 2.5 acre park in Southwest Raleigh that features various recreation opportunities including a small but robust playground, a hard surface court, walking trail and open space for flexible play. Formerly known as the Sierra Drive Property, the park opened in May 2019 and was then dedicated to Mary Belle Pate, a retired teacher and longtime Raleigh neighborhood advocate.
Natural plantings border adjacent neighbors and strategic placement of trees in the park provide shade. Recreation opportunities revolve around a central restroom building and picnic shelter. This central building is the focal point for the park, embodying the local community and becoming a source of neighborhood pride. The building’s siting in the park provides safe access and visibility from the street.
The structure’s form provides both shelter and a welcoming atmosphere. The butterfly roof slopes up to the lawn and the play areas, creating openness and better visibility throughout the park. Clerestory windows allow gentle natural light into the restrooms and help to cut down on energy use. The wood roof plane visually floats above the polished block structure, as if a butterfly is resting there.
Our Raleigh Landscape Architecture team built the plans from a pre-existing master plan and worked closely with City staff to design the playground and reduce overall project costs. The development of the park has turned a leftover piece of ground into a center for gathering and enjoyment while contributing to the overall aesthetic of the neighborhood.