Estelle McCadden Park unveiled, named after late neighborhood activist

Published: Apr. 28, 2023 at 6:33 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Kennedy Park in Roanoke is now McCadden Park. It was renamed to honor the late neighborhood leader Estelle H. McCadden.

Described as an icon, advocate and force, McCadden left her mark in Northwest Roanoke. Her son Mac McCadden says they moved to the community in 1958.

“All the work she did to try and put a focus on Northwest Roanoke,” explained Mac. ”To get real estate agents to sell in Northwest Roanoke again, (and) to get people in Northwest to take ownership of their community again.”

Ms. McCadden co-founded the Melrose-Rugby Neighborhood Forum and the Virginia Statewide Neighborhood Conference.

“Not only did she give so much to this community but also to this country as well,” said her mentee Anita James Price. “As she continuously promoted the importance of neighborhood and community.”

She was a recipient of many awards, but the name dedication commemorates her legacy. And what better day than on her birthday - April 28.

“This was her park. She loved this park,” added Roanoke Parks and Recreation Director Michael Clark. “Anytime that she and I spoke we always talked about this park.”

Mac says his mother had a vision of how the land could be developed and serve those living close by.

“It’s such a huge park and there are so many families who have that moved here and so many kids who can benefit,” said Mac.

He says he wants his mother’s name to motivate people to come together and stop the violence - something she spent her life working toward.

“Our neighborhood can be strong. And I hope it empowers people in this neighborhood to take control of the community,” added Mac.

Park officials say they are looking for community input on what developments they would like to see in the future.