Six Roanoke playgrounds renovated, replaced

Published: Aug. 2, 2022 at 3:20 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Roanoke City officials have injected millions dollars into the park infrastructure this year.

“This was the single largest and most diverse investment in the parks infrastructure in at least the last 20 years,” explains Michael Clark, Roanoke Director of Parks and Recreation.

Last September, $2.3 million was allocated to improve six playgrounds in Roanoke City. Those playgrounds are at Washington Park, Raleigh Court Park, Staunton Park, West End Park, Rivers Edge Park Court South, and Garden City Park.

The accomplishment was celebrated Tuesday morning at Garden City Park playground.

“Updating amenities in our parks and on our greenways allows not only for the beautification of our community’s outdoor spaces, but helps to preserve the safety and enhance the experience of those who are utilizing them,” adds Roanoke Mayor Sherman Lea.

Improving safety in more ways than one.

“The nicer the amenities that we have in parks, the more inviting, that we have to draw more people in to use them, the less nefarious activity takes place in parks and those folks tend to find other places to go,” notes Clark.

According to Clark, this is the first step providing residents in the Star City the kind of amenities they deserve.

One of the first to test out the new equipment at Garden City was 4-year-old Jackson Murrill. “This is the new playground. It’s nice,” he says.

“We have a lot more work to do,” continues Clark. “This doesn’t take care of all of our needs in the park system, but it is a significant dent.”

$2 million more has been allocated to the department this year, where they say they will set their sights on replacing and renovating playgrounds at Eastgate Park, Strauss Park, Belmont Park, and Fishburn Park. The city will also focus on improving parking lots and guardrails, and enhancing accessibility for all children.

“We have a very large and dated park system,” Clark explains. “We have a lot of maintenance needs. What we want to get out of this is a safer, more enjoyable experience for our patrons and something that our neighborhoods can be proud of.”

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