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Rocky Mount Parks and Recreation Director Kelvin Yarrell, left, spoke to the Rocky Mount Kiwanis Club on Aug. 7 at Benvenue Country Club. With him is Kiwanis board member Reginald Silver.

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Rocky Mount Parks and Recreation Director Kelvin Yarrell, left, spoke to the Rocky Mount Kiwanis Club on Aug. 7 at Benvenue Country Club. With him is Kiwanis board member Reginald Silver.

Parks and Recreation director sets high goals

From Contributed Reports

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Cradle to grave services sounds more like a hospital goal than an aim of the Rocky Mount Parks and Recreation Department; but according to the department’s director, Kelvin Yarrell, in his address to the Rocky Mount Kiwanis Club on Aug. 7, that’s his goal.

The department maintains more than 50,000 miles of greenway – more than one mile for every citizen – along with one of the largest senior citizen centers in the state, a very successful after-school program, 100 events a year, fireworks displays, an expanded Imperial Center staff and a Sports Complex that generated $9 million of economic activity for the city last year.

Every program is examined with his rule: “keep things that work and get rid of things that don’t,” making sure that public funds are used wisely, he said.

The Parks and Recreation Department has eight certified parks and recreation professionals, and more are studying for the certification. Seven employees have master.s degrees in the discipline, with two more working on their degrees. These certifications and degrees make Rocky Mount’s parks department one of the most skilled east of Raleigh, he said.

One of the improvements he noted was the color-coated markings on the city’s greenways. They indicate for the police the location of a person in need. Yes, he admitted, they need repainting, but that’s coming.