Kiwanis Club of Roanoke hopes to build new playground in Melrose-Orange Target Area

By Irisha Jones - Reporter

ROANOKE, Va.- - A new playground could be the path to helping kids and building a fun foundation for some of Roanoke's most needy children. The Kiwanis Club hopes to fund a new playground that will continue to invest in the Melrose-Orange Target area. 

It's just a wide open piece of land near the Melrose Training Center and the rear of Forest Park Academy. The Kiwanis Club of Roanoke came up with the idea to build a brand new playground not far from the Goodwill Training Center.

"That will be inclusive and have equipment that handicapped children could use and that will be a place that the community can come together," said Cheri Hartman, president-elect of the Kiwanis Club of Roanoke. 

They're calling it the Centennial Playground.  The Kiwanis celebrates 100 years in 2020 and the playground will be a gift to the Star City.  

"In June 2020 we picture that this field will be full of people and equipment," said Hartman. 

Kiwanis members did years of research and eventually settled on the Melrose-Orange Target Area where 51 percent of children live in poverty, and obesity and overweight rates are above national levels. 

"We identify this area in need of a neighborhood playground where the school children who live right here can come out and be physically active and interact with one another," said Hartman. 

There are other renovation projects in the area. The playground would be right next door to the new branch of the Melrose Library.  

"We want the playground to be owned by the neighborhood by having been involved and actually planning and then building it," said Hartman. 

Hartman introduced the project to city council members this week for support. The club wants to partner with other organizations and neighbors to create a gathering place for all ages.

The Kiwanis Club will began various fundraising opportunities for the playground, which would cost between $350,000 to $400,000. 

To get in contact with Kiwanis of Roanoke, meetings are on Wednesday at 12:30. Write them at P.O. Box 19313, Roanoke, Va 24019.

540-761-6751

jmonty@cox.net or www.roanokekiwanis.org

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