Roanoke neighbors learn more about future of Washington Park Pool

The new pool is the largest investment into Washington Park in the city’s history

ROANOKE, Va. – A new Washington Park Pool is still in the works but the city wanted to give an update on what could possibly be in store.

Washington Park Pool was originally built in the 1970s and the renovation project is part of the department’s Master Plan developed in 2019.

In a 2021 study, Washington Park Pool was ranked highest in terms of resident support for renovation out of all the department’s recreation centers and pools.

The old pool closed down in 2022 and demolition began. The question for the future pool was its new location.

During a study, Parks and Recreation found much of the upper half of the park has landfill material underground since it sits on top of an old landfill. Michael Clark, the director of Parks and Recreation, said there weren’t many options.

“Unfortunately, everywhere that we did a test except for where the football field is now showed signs of landfill material,” Clark said.

The decision was made to possibly move the park to the lower half of the park where the historical Evans House currently sits. Some residents aren’t too happy with the idea.

“This is history, it needs to remain history,” Carolyn Hubbard said.

However several neighbors said the pool is vital for the children living in Northwest Roanoke since there’s not a ton to do in that part of the city. Ryan Bell expressed his optimism for the pool at a community meeting Thursday evening.

“We can’t waste time and before you know it, when these ones are ready to go swim at the pool … they don’t got a pool at Washington Park to swim,” Bell said.

During the meeting, neighbors got to hear what future features could be part of the new pool. A survey showed people wanted a lazy river, shaded areas, a diving area, lap lanes, and a splash pad.

Parks and Recreation plan to add some of these features into the new aquatic center but nothing is finalized. The goal of Thursday’s meeting was to get the go-ahead from neighbors on a location.

Hubbard just hopes the future pool is not neglected like she says the Northwest area has been for years.

“If we’re going to move forward with something, we should look back at what we neglected so that we don’t make the same mistakes because it’s disgraceful,” Hubbard said.

The next steps are to send a callout for a contractor.

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.

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