City aims to encourage ecotourism


Rocky Mount Mayor David Comes, Councilman Lamont Wiggins and Councilman Andre Knight, left to right, discuss topics including recreational inclusion at last week's annual retreat.


Staff Writer

Monday, February 26, 2018

The Rocky Mount City Council learned inclusion is an incredibly important aspect of a successful city during its annual retreat last week.

Inclusion, focus, accountability, civic pride and collaboration were the main topics presented to the council during its three-day stay in the Port City. The value of inclusion was explained to the council by Kelvin Yarrell, the city's director of Parks and Recreation, and relayed to the Telegram by Tameka Kenan-Norman, the city's chief communications and marketing officer.

Yarrell wants to include more residents and tourists in city recreation by enhancing Battle Park and using ecotourism — travel to natural areas — as the foundation.

Rocky Mount has 50 parks, ranging from small neighborhood playgrounds to the massive Battle Park with boating access to the Tar River.

Yarrell said he's examined the possibility of constructing tree houses for events, a low and high ropes course, canoeing, white water rafting along the Tar River, canopy tours and more.

The Parks and Recreation Department will focus on the Tar River as a major asset to the community, Yarrell said.

The parks department's mission is to advance the quality of life for residents and guests by providing positive, inclusive experiences. Parks have four tenents: Innovation, meaning parks staff are open to new ideas and new ways of doing things; Dynamic, meaning parks staff strive to provide energizing experiences encouraging healthy living and human development for all ages and abilities; Engaged, meaning parks staff strive to engage with the community; and Awareness, meaning the promotion of environmental awareness through the use of earth-friendly materials, recycling and conservation practices.

This report is the second in a series of five providing topical information presented last week at the City Council's annual retreat.