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Roanoke officials expect the new lights to reduce electricity costs. The city park system also plans to build new restrooms and picnic shelters in coming months.
SAM OWENS | The Roanoke Times
Exterior Services worker Carlos Carranza rakes dirt along the newly paved trail at Jackson Park in Roanoke on Monday afternoon. The Roanoke City Council's Parks and Recreation master plan includes updating and improving two parks each year, and Jackson Park has been receiving improvements throughout the summer.
Monday, August 5, 2013
New lights for the River’s Edge Sports Complex athletic fields, a major face-lift for Huff Lane Park and restrooms along the Roanoke River Greenway and in several parks make up the bulk of Roanoke Parks and Recreation’s building plans for the next several months.
They’re what’s coming as the city finishes its current $1.7 million worth of work in Countryside and Jackson parks this fall, parks and recreation director Steve Buschor told the Roanoke City Council on Monday. Workers this summer are building a walking trail and making other improvements to Jackson Park in southeast Roanoke.
The work at River’s Edge, Huff Lane and along the Roanoke River Greenway, meanwhile, will be the first projects under the city’s just-updated master plan for parks and recreation, which calls for a stepped-up effort at neighborhood parks and indoor facilities.
At River’s Edge, Buschor plans to install replacements for the 27-year-old lights.
The aging lights, Buschor said, are major headaches : “ Everything from lights going on by themselves to lights not going out when we flip the switch .”
For the $489,000 tab, he believes the city can get twice the lighting power with fewer lights. Over the next 25 years, that will cut electricity costs by more than $500,000, he said.
At Huff Lane, the city proposes spending $350,000 on a new playground, picnic shelter, restroom and concessions facility as well as improved security lighting.
Other projects for the fiscal year ending June 30 include:
n Restrooms along the Roanoke River Greenway at Piedmont Park and in the Norwich area.
n A replacement for the restroom in River’s Edge Sports Complex at Wiley Drive.
n Updates for the restrooms at Wasena, Golden and Smith parks.
n A new picnic shelter and restroom at Fishburn Park.
n Repairs to the road through Highland Park, as well as improvements to the dog park there.
In other city council business:
City Manager Chris Morrill said Roanoke may go ahead and purchase three or four homes in the 1900 block of Meadowbrook Road Northwest that are regularly flooded even after relatively moderate rains.
Speaking after Meadowbrook Road resident Joel Kirby said his family was still unable to move back to their house after the July 3 storm flooded the basement with 7 feet of water and backed-up sewage, Morrill said the city is pursuing state funds for other emergency drainage work and will ask property owners along Peters Creek for access to the stream so city workers can clear it of debris to speed drainage.
Kirby said the flood destroyed wiring, heating and plumbing systems. Seven of 14 homes in the block remain uninhabitable.
Mayor David Bowers said he planned to ask the Red Cross if it could set up a fundraising effort to help victims of July’s flooding.
The council also decided to join forces with Chesapeake to set up a new investment fund that other cities and counties could join, if they choose. The idea is to supplement the state-run Local Government Investment Pool , which operates as a money market fund that can be drawn on immediately, but that pays interest of just 0.1 percent.
The council also accepted $5.4 million in state matching funds for drainage, paving, curb and sidewalk work, as well as for replacing the Franklin Road bridge over the Norfolk Southern tracks. In addition, it received $2.9 million from the state and $400,000 from the Roanoke Valley Greenway Commission and the Pathfinders for Greenways to complete the Roanoke River Greenway.
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