Kiwanis Club raising funds for new playground in northwest Roanoke

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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) Bocce Ball might not be a common sport in the Roanoke Valley, but as members of the Roanoke Kiwanis Club demonstrated Tuesday afternoon, it can be a lot of fun.

Rendering courtesy Roanoke Kiwanis

And they're now signing up teams for their third bocce ball tournament September 28.

"We've averaged roughly around 25 teams," said tournament organizer Sam Lionberger. "We have 26 right now. We have room for 48."

The Kiwanis Club of Roanoke is preparing to celebrate its centennial next year. And members are raising $400,000 for an important project: a new playground for the northwest neighborhood.

Jackie Bledsoe is co-chair of the Roanoke Centennial Playground Committee.

"When we looked at Horton Park and saw two swings for 900 children, we thought that's not going to work."

Committee Co-chair and Kiwanis Club President-elect Cheri Hartman agreed. "And our goal is to actually have a space that is attractive to the whole family," she said.

The new playground will be on a vacant lot near the new Melrose Library. And when it's completed next summer it will include almost 10,000 square feet of playground space with something for everyone.

"All of this is as a result of input from the neighborhood," Bledsoe said. "We didn't go in and say we're building you a playground."

"There will be equipment that can include children in wheelchairs," Hartman added. "There will be ramps. There will be special interactive panels. If you are without sight, there will be braille panels. There's a panel that explains sign language."

The Kiwanis Club is about halfway to its goal, and members are counting on the community to help them raise the rest, starting with some bocce ball later this month.

For more information visit the Kiwanis Club of Roanoke Facebook Page. or click on the following link:

Kiwanis Bocce Ball Tournament

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