December 12, 2005
City officials call it tired and run-down. Many Charlottesville parks were built between 1965 and 1985. Finally the city is willing to do something about it, but it comes with a hefty price tag.
"We try to do as much as we can to hide what we can but of course some of it is so out in the open that you really can't hide it at all," said John Nowell.
Nowell is a manager at Smith pool. It's one of six pools in the city of Charlottesville that have major wear and tear damage.
"We have holes in the walls, we have holes in the showers, and I actually have to duck tape the walls so that people won't get cut by the metal that's on the wall," said Nowell.
Five out of the six pools have significant water leaks and the restrooms are in need of work. But the pools aren't the only facility that's in desperate need of improvements.
"The parks and recreation system was 20 to 40 years old, not only infrastructure wise but also the ability for us to meet the needs of the community," said Mike Svetz, the Parks and Recreations Director.
According to the needs assessment, Charlottesville's aging park system needs a $33 million dollar upgrade.
That includes improving outdoor park facilities, developing a new bike and pedestrian system, and improving the indoor recreational facilities. The recreation rooms that currently offer one or two activities at a time could soon offer an entire wellness center. But this won't happen over night.
"33 million bucks is a lot money and I think it's important to realize though that the need for this has developed over decades and we're certainly not going to solve this in one shot either," said Kevin Lynch, a city council member.
One city council member said it's quite possibly they could only approve partial improvements. But this issue won't be discussed until early next year. Representatives of Parks and Rec said it would take about 5 years to make all the necessary improvements.