What was once a softball field in Booker T. Washington Park is now just a circle of bare earth. And Troy Eichelberger isn't happy about it.
Earlier this week, he took his concerns to city council. He questioned the decision to eliminate the ball field along Orange Avenue, and close the tennis courts near Lincoln Terrace Elementary School.
"Oftentimes I see that money does not come back into this community," Eichelberger told WDBJ7 in an interview Wednesday. "You know my wife said to me, she said I don't mind you taking from me, but don't take what you haven't given and don't take the little bit that we do have."
It's a sensitive issue in part, because of Washington Park's history: first as the location of a city dump residents fought to close in the early 60s, and later when the neighborhood argued that other parts of Roanoke were receiving preferential treatment.
On Monday, City Manager Chris Morrill said Roanoke built too many tennis courts, and he said the city is considering other recreational uses for the area near Lincoln Terrace Elementary.
He said the ball field was eliminated because the area often floods, and dirt from the field was affecting the water quality in Lick Run.
"Our stormwater folks said we've got to do something with that," Morrill told members of city council, "because it's degrading the quality of the stream, so that's why the fence was taken down."
City officials say the Parks and Recreation master plan actually includes moving the backstop from the lower diamond to a new multi-purpose field on the upper end of the park. But right now there is no money budgeted for that project.
Troy Eichelberger says others in the neighborhood share his concerns about the park, and he is encouraging them to contact the Mayor and members of city council.