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The Roanoke Times (Virginia)
By Cameron Austin 981-3435

Improvements to Washington Park in Roanoke are in the works again after being halted because of lack of funding in 2009.

At an open-house meeting Monday evening at Lucy Addison Middle School, parents and community members got the chance to provide suggestions to city officials on what they wanted to see out of the park's master plan, which many thought was outdated after being drafted in 2004.

Steve Buschor, director of Roanoke City Parks and Recreation, emphasized how important feedback is from the community- including hearing directly from the children who will be using the park.

Buschor and his team have held three meetings with local children - two meetings with students at Lucy Addison and one with children who live in The Villages at Lincoln - to hear what they wanted out of the park.

After speaking with close to 100 children, city officials learned that most wanted to see playgrounds, fitness centers, a skate park and picnic shelters.

At the meeting Monday, community members had the chance to cast their vote - just as the children had - and create a wish-list of possible amenities such as tennis courts, pavilions, aquatic centers and trails.

When the project still had funding, several improvements were made to the park such as new lighting, the addition of new restrooms and a water fountain, as well as the removal of the baseball/softball field that was prone to flooding.

People at the meeting indicated that the installation of a new baseball/softball field was one of the biggest priorities to the community.

But before the project moves forward and a new field can be built, an updated master plan will be developed to reflect the voices of everyone.

Buschor said he hopes that the plan will be ready for presentation at the August Roanoke City Council meeting.

"We're going to take the old master plan, and combine it with a new master plan to reflect what we've heard from the community," Buschor said.


June 3, 2014




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