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City to seek input on Washington Park master plan

Published On: Apr 07 2014 09:15:21 PM EDT   Updated On: Apr 07 2014 09:20:11 PM EDT

Neighbors of Roanoke's Washington Park complained after the city locked their tennis courts and removed a softball field


The complaints started when the ball field disappeared. And neighbors wondered when tennis courts long in disrepair might reopen.

City leaders say environmental concerns in an area prone to flooding prompted the changes on the lower end of the park. And the tennis courts await funding for a master plan that includes converting them to another use, such as basketball.

During a meeting of Roanoke City Council Monday morning, city staffers outlined the park's master plan that includes major improvements.

"If nothing else," said Roanoke City Council Member Anita Price, "this allowed us the opportunity to realize how important is it to never forget citizen engagement and input."

In the last month, city leaders have held one meeting with community leaders and they plan another with the neighborhood.

"So now the time is appropriate," said Assistant City Manager Brian Townsend, "to update the Washington Park Master Plan so we can see what the community's priorities are in terms of improvements to the park."

Part of the problem was the economic downturn, that caused the city to eliminate funding for capital improvements in city parks.

That spending is slowly coming back, but needs in all of the city parks will compete for the money.

Neighbors of Washington Park should see some improvements in the next year.
But some of the more ambitious plans will have to wait until more money becomes available