City leaders meet with Hurt Park residents to hear neighborhood concerns

ROANOKE (WSLS 10) - Pressing concerns in the Hurt Park neighborhood were the topic of discussion during a monthly meeting on Thursday with community members and Roanoke city leaders.

Many living in the area said their neighborhood has improved in the last few years, but more work needs to be done.

The Hurt Park Neighborhood Alliance invited Mayor Sherman Lea, who brought along those with code enforcement and the Valley Metro Transit to hear what residents envision for their community moving forward.

"I know that there are areas that most people have issues with drugs, but as a neighborhood, if you don't speak up and stand together nothing will ever get resolved. You have to stand your ground and say 'hey we are not tolerating this and we're not going to,'" said Brenda Randolph.

Randolph, the secretary of the Hurt Park Neighborhood Alliance, feels they need more bus stops, better upkeep of blighted homes and streets and relief from traffic problems on Salem Avenue. But they also want something for the adults they believe is being kept on the back burner.

"We only have one basketball court to play basketball. Some have to wait. You got a little kids, big kids and grown people. So a gym is very much needed," said Randolph.

Lea said it was important for him to hear firsthand what's going on and identify those issues before they get bigger.

"For me being here it makes me responsible for those things I now know. And I'll be taking some action to move forward and make sure those concerns are addressed," said Lea.

Roanoke police Capt. Rick Morrison said the area looks entirely different from 10 years ago.

"At one point this was one of the worst areas in the entire city drug deals, shootings and stabbings. So the police department working with the community and collaborating with the housing authority and businesses and other resources we cleaned this whole entire area up," said Morrison.

Lea said he's taking the concerns seriously and will enlist the help of an advisory committee to find solutions to the problems.

Also at the meeting, an officer updated residents of recent crimes in the area. Just this month, two larcenies, robberies and burglary and a motor theft vehicle drug trade were reported.