ROANOKE, Va. – The community got to finally see some options of what a potential new Eureka Recreation Center and parks space may look like.
The redevelopment of the Eureka Recreation Center goes all the way back to 2021. It was a part of the Parks and Recreation Department’s 10-year master plan. In 2021, they allocated $8 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to the Redevelopment of Eureka Recreation Center project. In July of 2022, an additional $5 million was added to this project, which also came from ARPA funding.
In December of 2022, officials and architects wanted to get community input on what Roanoke wanted to see with the new center.
On Tuesday, they all came back together once again to discuss three design options VMDO Architects came up with. Joe Celentano, Principle of VMDO Architects, said they are not picking one of these options. Rather, they want more input to try and come up with a final design.
“Create options that are different, deliberately different, to bring out different strategies and then to get the reaction from the community about what kinds of things are working, what’s not working,” Celentano said.
The project overall is going to cost $13 million. It’s the largest investment in a single project in Roanoke Parks and Recreation history. Parks and Recreation Director, Michael Clark, is excited to be a part of it.
“The closest thing to it was when we redeveloped Elmwood Park…which was about half this budget. We’re excited to be able to be a part of this really transformative project for our community,” Clark said.
At the community meeting, people were able to ask more questions or give comments on the three design concepts.
One of the biggest questions is whether to utilize some of the current recreation center or get rid of the building as a whole.
More than anything, people in the community want a safe space to go.
“The more opportunities we can provide our young people to stay engaged and positive activities and a safe space for them…the less likely they are to get involved in other things that they shouldn’t be doing and that ultimately benefits our entire community,” Clark said.
The architects will take some of the ideas presented at the meeting and keep them in mind when creating a final design. The hope is to have it done by March. They plan to give the community another presentation in late February.