Salem city leaders tour aging facilities

SALEM, Va. (WDBJ7) - Salem City council and staff spent Wednesday morning on a field trip.
City leaders toured some of Salem's popular recreation sites. Some of the sites are so popular they're showing their age.

City Manager Kevin Boggess said some sites and pieces of equipment haven't received much attention as the city has focused on staying in the black post-recession.

"So in some cases we have pieces of equipment that have been on the road for 20 years or longer when the expected life was 10 or 15 years,” he said from city hall.

These tours are designed to help city leaders develop a list of priorities to fix as they prepare to draft the next budget. Wednesday’s stops included the concession stand at the civic center, the press box at Kiwanis field and Salem High School, among others.

At Salem High School, leaders examined the field which appears to be thinning. They also discussed creating new bleachers for the visiting team.

"We need to begin with the next budget year of tackling the things that we can afford to do as soon as possible,” Boggess said. “We've got to catch up."

Salem's Vice Mayor, Bill Jones, said he gets calls about facility needs daily. He said it shows that the city’s leaders are approachable.

"Most people are legit in what their concerns are and they're also very, very knowledgeable about the amount of money that it takes to do some of this stuff,” he said.

This is the second tour the council has done - the first included a closer look at the street department. Leaders say they welcome any feedback from residents as they create their list of priorities.

Jones said he’s hoping these eventual changes will help encourage more people to live in Salem.

"We will make Salem better but it's a step at a time."