Community outraged after Washington Park trashed during July 4th celebration

Parks and Recreation employees and community members spent hours cleaning up the park on Tuesday

Many were shocked by what they found at Washington Park

ROANOKE, Va. – The community is frustrated after the 4th of July celebration at Washington Park left tons of trash to be cleaned up.

Marlene Hamlett was coming back from dropping her granddaughter off at summer school on Tuesday when she saw Washington Park filled with leftover debris and fireworks from Monday’s celebration.

“I’ve lived in Roanoke all my life. I’ve never seen anything like this,” Hamlett said. “I don’t know who did the event. I wasn’t a part of it, I didn’t participate. But they left it a sheer wreck.”

While cleanups are pretty common for the Parks and Recreation Department, Parks Director Cindy McFall said the state of Washington Park was the worst they’ve ever encountered.

“This is not the norm for us. Normal use, and usage, is expected,” McFall said. “This is the worst we’ve seen at Washington Park this morning.”

McFall was appreciative of the community members who came out to help clean up. With the help of the community a full day’s work turned out to last for just a few hours.

“I think that folks are really invested in their neighborhood parks and the parks they use on a regular basis,” McFall said. “The fact that they did come out this morning was very encouraging.”

Earlier this year, basketball courts at Washington Park were dedicated to honor the life of Ricky Wright, and after fresh new pavement, the courts were practically brand new.

The story behind the courts, along with new renovations, caused Hamlett to be confused as to how people are treating something with such carelessness.

“In northwest Roanoke, we want better things. We deserve better. But when we get it we must be better caretakers of what we have,” Hamlett said. “The bottom line is I’m pretty upset right now. That someone would have the nerve to come and have an event, not clean up behind themselves and destroy brand new property.”

As of Tuesday morning, there were no apparent damages to the courts.

The Roanoke Parks and Recreation Department is continuing to ask people to clean up after themselves when using one of the parks.

About the Author:

Connor Dietrich joined the 10 News team in June 2022. Originally from Castle Rock, Colorado, he's ready to step away from the Rockies and step into the Blue Ridge scenery.