The Roanoke Valley Community Health Initiative (RV-CHI) is made up of individuals and community organizations seeking to empower the residents of the Roanoke Valley to live a healthier lifestyle. The annual FamilyFest is a part of this initiative. The FamilyFest taking place Saturday, April 26 is a free event and will be packed with games, food, and information. This year’s theme is “Moving and Playing.”
Roanoke Valley citizens can get started moving and playing by utilizing the resources that are available within the community. The Roanoke Rapids Parks and Recreation Department offers multiple programs, facilities, and parks. TJ Davis Recreation Center provides opportunities for physical fitness with youth and adult athletics, an indoor walking track, 2 basketball gyms, and a fitness room. Chaloner Recreation Center provides these opportunities with fitness equipment, exercise classes, and a walking trail. The Aquatic Center provides times for lap swimming, water walking, and water exercise, including Aqua Zumba. The Jo Story Senior Center provides a senior-friendly fitness area with instruction once per week and also Tai-Chi classes. The Roanoke Canal Trail has multiple access points for walking and biking, from Roanoke Rapids to Weldon.
There are 13 municipal parks that are available for use daily from dawn until dusk. These parks range in amenities, to include sports fields, playgrounds, shelters, walking tracks, and tennis courts. Recently the Roanoke Rapids Parks and Recreation Department was awarded grant funding through the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust to provide fitness-based playground equipment at Ledgerwood Complex. This new playground has equipment for ages 2-5, ages 5-12, swings, and a shelter. The Recreation Department can partner with schools for mini-field trips, as lesson plans are provided with this equipment. The Shelter will be used during the summer in a partnership with Roanoke Rapids Graded School District for a free lunch program for ages up to 18, with no additional requirements to participate. The playground is currently open and ready for kids to come out and play. The Dedication and Grand Opening of Ledgerwood Playground will be at 9:3am, April 26, 2014, right before the kick-off of the Family Fun Fest at 10am.
In addition, Emery Park will be undergoing some change with the replacement of outdated playground equipment, sponsored by KaBOOM!, the City of Roanoke Rapids, and community volunteers. With this project, the Recreation Department will purchase the equipment with the provided funding and will seek volunteers throughout the community to assist with the actual assembly of the playground. This will take a community wide effort to be a success. The Department will need volunteers of all ages and skill levels to assist on Build Day. Build Day will be June 7, 2014. If anyone is interested in assisting with this community project, please call (252) 533-2847. Assistance will be needed for a First Aid Station, refreshments, and the actual build.
The Northampton County Recreation and Cultural & Wellness Center also provides an array of services and programs for area residents to move and play. Normal operating office hours for the Recreation Department are Monday-Friday 8:30AM-5:00PM and varies during programs and weekend tournaments. Normal operating hours for the Cultural & Wellness Center are Monday-Thursday 8:30AM-8:00PM, Fridays 8:30AM-6:30PM, and Saturdays 8:30AM-12:30PM. This complex is located at 9536 NC HWY 305, Jackson, NC. There are indoor and outdoor opportunities for area residents to be physically active. The Cultural and Wellness Center includes a fitness room, with multiple machines and free weights to accommodate all fitness and skill levels. Outside, the complex houses multiple sports fields, basketball courts, a walking track, playground, and tennis courts.
- Kelly Manning, Assistant Director, City of Roanoke Rapids Parks and Recreation
- James Roberts, Recreation Director, Northampton County