Organized recreation goes a long way toward occupying young minds in healthy activities. It helps keep kids out of trouble.
But it requires a commitment on the part of administrators, volunteers and the community as a whole. And it takes money for upkeep – swingsets have to be maintained; basketball courts have to be resurfaced; rec centers need paint and repairs.
Rocky Mount has a long list of community center workers who have helped young people stay active in positive channels. But the community hasn’t fared as well when it comes to regular upkeep of facilities.
It has been forever since the South Rocky Mount Community Center has had any significant renovations. The roof leaks. Weeds poke out of cracks in the tennis courts. The lighting is poor. Even residents who want to use the center worry that it’s unsafe for families and children.
The city is taking a much needed look at renovating the facility. As Telegram staff writer Brie Handgraaf reported Sunday, the city Parks and Recreation Department met with residents last fall to hear public comments on what’s needed to make the center a viable resource for the community.
The proposed renovations won’t be cheap. The estimated cost of repairs has grown from $1 million to $1.7 million.
That’s a significant expense, but it will be worthwhile. Giving kids a place to play ball and have fun in their own neighborhood offers a much better alternative than the temptation to cause trouble or worse on the streets.
Professional consultants are putting together a plan that is expected to address the renovation needs of the center and implement suggestions from community residents.
For more than 30 years, the South Rocky Mount Community Center has provided a positive outlet for kids and families. With the right renovations and improvements, the center will be able to serve the community for many more years to come.