ROANOKE, Va. – Roanoke City Parks and Recreation is on track to receive more capital funding in the next three years than it did in the past two decades.
Roanoke’s rec centers are the fabric of the city, but the fabric is tattered. Bette Ramsey is a recreation instructor at the Eureka Recreation Center and knows this first hand.
“I used to visit this park when I was a kid, so I know all about Eureka, absolutely. It’s a very old building and a lot of upgrades that need to be done,” Ramsey said.
Eureka is just one of seven recreation centers in the city, which along with two pools, date back more than 50 years.
Michael Clark is the city’s parks and recreation director.
“In looking around at upgrades that we’ve made around the city, I think it’s fair to say that these facilities have been left behind,” Clark said. “We are slated to receive a substantial amount of capital money that we can invest back into pools and rec centers.”
The department is slated to receive about $9 million over the next three years. The money will be spent overhauling the facilities from top to bottom, substantially more than the sporadic coat of paint they’ve received in years prior.
“(These facilities are) great equalizers and they’re places for everybody regardless of your socioeconomic status or your race or gender or whatever,” Clark said.
Improving the rec centers and pools is part of the city’s mission of equity for all. Ramsey says upgrades will mean the world to their kids.
“We try to do as much as we can to make it as fun as possible, but to actually see something being done for them and to have a better environment for them they would be ecstatic,” Ramsey said.