Roanoke residents try to save Washington Park Evans House from demolition

Published: Aug. 7, 2023 at 10:33 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Roanoke City is starting the early design plans for the new Washington Park Pool. But there’s a group of residents trying to save the old caretaker’s cottage from being torn down.

Washington Park’s Evans House has stood off Orange Avenue since the late 1700s. Roanoke officials plan to put a new pool where the house currently stands.

“How can we preserve our history when we’re tearing down and demolishing?” one Roanoke resident asked at Monday night’s city council meeting.

The Friends of Washington Park is a local group trying to save the old caretaker’s cottage. They shared ideas with Roanoke City Council Monday night to transform it into an education or community center for Northwest.

“It’s very closely associated with the Gainsborough neighborhood,” resident Alison Blanton said. “I just want to stress this house is the only remaining structure that relates to that period of history that is very much important to our city.”

The city decided to tear the cottage down after multiple community meetings where residents showed their support for a new pool.

“I do ask that we maybe put a historic marker there to show what was there and not ignore the history all together,” council member Stephanie Moon Reynolds said.

The city is now in the early design stages for the new Washington Park Pool, but the group is still fighting to save the cottage by applying for outside funding.

“It is likely to end with the demolition of that building but if there’s even a chance that as we design it, that that’s not the case, then we at least preserve that opportunity,” City Manager Bob Cowell said.

However, the clock is ticking as Roanoke City Council hopes to open the pool by next summer for kids to enjoy.