Elmwood Park Receives Award

Fountains at Night Elmwood LR


Roanoke, VA — Over 350 delegates from around the state gathered last week at the Annual Conference of the Virginia Recreation and Park Society at The Homestead in Hot Springs, VA. Highlighting each year’s conference is a formal presentation of awards, and Roanoke’s Elmwood Park won the Best New Renovation/Addition award.

The awards ceremony is a state-wide program that honors individuals, agencies and organizations throughout Virginia who have demonstrated excellence in several areas during the previous calendar year. Over ninety applications were received vying for awards in 13 different categories. “Entries in every population category, from around the state, allow us to recognize the best in our business while raising the standards and quality of programs, facilities and events in every region,” said VRPS President Art Thatcher.

Elmwood Award“We knew Elmwood Park was going to be a huge hit amongst our citizens, but it’s nice to receive such a prestigious award from our fellow peers as well,” said Steve Buschor, Roanoke’s Director of Parks and Recreation. “Winning this award just further solidifies all of the hard work our citizens and staff put in over the past several months to make Elmwood a prominent and vital part of downtown Roanoke,” he added.

The award submission focused on many key features of the new park including the 4,500 capacity amphitheater with its cascading grass terraces for seating and array of fountains that line the walkway and stage.

As a nationally accredited agency, Roanoke Parks and Recreation delivers best-in-class parks, recreation facilities, events and activities while providing memorable experiences that move the body, mind and emotions. For information about our services and facilities, visit PlayRoanoke.com.


New Soccer Fields at Countryside Park

Roanoke, VA — Roanoke Star Soccer Club (RSSC), in conjunction with Roanoke Parks and Recreation will be hosting an inaugural “kick-off” to celebrate the upcoming development of the new soccer field complex at Countryside Park just off of Ranch Road. This event will take place on Dec. 3 at 2 p.m., and staff members from the RSSC will be joined by city officials as they all line up to take the first shot on goal.

Danny Beamer, Executive Director of RSSC, is extremely pleased to have the opportunity to add fields to the area. “Based on the number of players in the city, Roanoke definitely has a deficit of rectangular fields,” he said. In a lease agreement with the city, RSSC will construct and maintain the fields. “Our plan is to build five full-size, regulation fields that can transform into 11 junior fields,” he added. At this point the tentative date for completion is between fall of 2015 and spring of 2016.

According to Steve Buschor, Director of Parks and Recreation, these new fields will add to the overall popularity of the new Countryside Park that officially opened last January. “We’ve been amazed at the amount of visitors to this park. The new soccer fields will only bring more excitement to the playground, outdoor musical trail and shelter house that already exist at this location.” Alongside those amenities, Buschor added that there is also a small section of the Lick Run Greenway that travels through the park. “The planned layout includes three fields adjacent to Ranch Road with the remaining fields alongside Highland Farm Rd. and these two areas will be conveniently connected by the greenway,” said Buschor.

The inaugural kick-off for the Countryside fields will take place across the street from the playground at Countryside Park. The precise location can be found via Google Maps: 2350 Ranch Road NW, Roanoke, VA 24017.

As a nationally accredited agency, Roanoke Parks and Recreation strives to deliver parks, recreation facilities and activities that are attractive, accessible and provide memorable experiences that move the body, mind and emotions. For information about our best-in-class services and facilities, visit PlayRoanoke.com.

We Made It: America’s Best Small Cities

Roanoke has officially landed on SmarterTravel.com’s “America’s Best Small Cities on the Rise” list. The site mentioned many of the most noteworthy assets the city has to offer, including Elmwood Park’s brand new amphitheater, the newly renovated City Market Building and the spectacular views from the Center in the Square rooftop. The city’s easy access to the Appalachian Trail and proximity to the East Coast also added to the “loveability” factor of the Star City.

The Smarter Travel article was released just days following the unveiling of the Roanoke Valley as one of the “10 Best: Bike-friendly cities” according to USA Weekend, a sub-site of USA Today. Miles upon miles of scenic bike trails, along with the valley’s temperate climate were just two of the factors landing the Roanoke Valley on the list.

View the full Smarter Travel article here.
View the full USA Weekend article here.

Roanoke Announced Most Livable City

Roanoke, VA — The City of Roanoke has been recognized with the Outstanding Achievement Award in the 2014 City Livability Awards Program at the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ 82nd Annual Meeting in Dallas, Tex. Roanoke received the award for its 2013 Parks and Arts Program.

Award-winning cities were determined by an independent panel of judges, selected by the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Winners were chosen from a pool of more than 200 applicants.

MayorThis is the 35th year in which cities have competed for the award, which is sponsored by the Conference of Mayors and Waste Management, Inc., the nation’s largest environmental solutions provider. The award recognizes mayoral leadership in developing and implementing programs that improve the quality of life in America’s cities, focusing on the leadership, creativity, and innovation demonstrated by the mayors.

“Roanoke is very grateful to receive this award from the nation’s mayors,” said Mayor David A. Bowers. “The real award recipients should be the city’s Arts and Culture Coordinator, Susan Jennings, and Roanoke Parks and Recreation Director Steve Buschor, who have introduced neighborhoods in every quadrant of the Star City to the lively, performing arts of our community, and brought our people into their parks on nice summer afternoons, through this Parks and Arts Program. Roanoke humbly accepts this, yet another prestigious national recognition for our city.”

Barry Caldwell, Waste Management’s Senior Vice President for Public Affairs and Communications, presented the awards during the annual luncheon in Dallas on Saturday, June 21. “It remains a joy for Waste Management to partner with the USCM to honor mayors who are enhancing their cities’ quality of life, which the City Livability Award represents,” said Caldwell. “For more than 25 years, Waste Management has sponsored the award because as the leading provider of comprehensive waste and environmental solutions in North America, our services are vital to the quality of life of cities and communities across the nation.”

“Our City Livability Awards Program gives us the opportunity to highlight mayoral leadership in making urban areas cleaner, safer, and more livable,” said Tom Cochran, CEO and Executive Director of the Conference of Mayors. “We are grateful to Waste Management for its many years of support for the City Livability Awards Program, and for the opportunity to showcase the innovation and commitment of mayors and city governments across the country.”

In addition to the two top awards, which went to New Orleans, La., and West Sacramento, Calif., Outstanding Achievement Awards were given to five cities with populations of 100,000 or more–Arlington, Tex; Philadelphia, Pa.; Phoenix and Mesa, Ariz.; Providence, R.I.–and five cities with populations of less than 100,000– Beverly Hills, Calif.; Braintree, Mass.; Roanoke, Va.; Tamarac, Fla.; and York, Pa. Honorable Mention citations for cities with populations of 100,000 or more went to Aurora, Colo.; Gresham, Ore.; Little Rock, Ark.; and Orlando, Fla. Citations for cities with populations of less than 100,000 went to Brick, N.J.; Cathedral City, Calif.; Newton, Mass.; and Wauwatosa, Wis.

2014 Parks & Arts Dates Released

The City of Roanoke announced today, that after a successful series in 2013, Parks and Arts will return to six different neighborhood parks this summer.

The Parks and Arts program is designed to celebrate Roanoke’s neighborhoods by taking performing and visual arts directly to communities all across the city. This year’s Parks and Arts program is funded through a grant from the Foundation for Roanoke Valley.

Working with the Office of Neighborhood Services and the Roanoke Neighborhood Advocates, parks in each of the city’s four sections have been identified for programming based on need, accessibility, and proximity to adjacent neighborhoods. They are:

* Huff Lane Park – June 7 – Noon to 3 p.m.
* Preston Park – June 21 – Noon to 3 p.m.
* Golden Park – July 12 – Noon to 3 p.m.
* Countryside Park – July 26 – Noon to 3 p.m. (for a park description and directions, visit PlayRoanoke.com/countryside)
* Mountain View – Aug. 2 Rain Date: Sept 6 – Noon to 3 p.m. (For location information, click here)
* Elmwood Park – Aug. 24 – Starting at 2 p.m. (For location information, click here)

Parks and Arts events will provide venues for a wide variety of local and regional artists, dancers, and musicians to showcase their talents. With a focus on community settings, these events will meld the outdoors with the arts, engage residents in art, and promote neighborhoods’ diverse cultural and historic resources.

Parks and Arts is a partnership between the City of Roanoke, the Foundation for Roanoke Valley, and the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra. Anyone who attends a Parks and Arts event will get a free lawn seating ticket to attend the Elmwood Park event in August featuring RSO Pops.

Through this program, the city hopes to strengthen support for neighborhood-based art and culture; attract and retain artists by supporting programs that encourage them to live and work in Roanoke’s neighborhoods; and develop new audiences for arts and
cultural groups and individual artists.

For a complete event schedule, visit www.roanokeva.gov/parksandarts. For more information about the program, please contact Susan Jennings, the city’s Arts and Culture Coordinator, at 853-5652 or email her at susan.jennings@roanokeva.gov.

Fleet Feet – Named Top Running Store in America!

Fleet Feet Sports Roanoke has been recognized by Competitor magazine and Running Insight trade magazine as one of The 50 Best Running Stores in America for 2013.

Every year, Competitor magazine and Running Insight trade magazine identify the “50 Best Running Stores in America.” It all started in July with runners nominating their favorite stores through www.competitor.com. Those stores are put through a rigorous evaluation process, which includes mystery shopping to assess customer service, credit ratings from vendors and assessments about local programs and community commitment.

The stores that rank among the 50 Best Running Stores in America are the ones that offer exemplary customer service, training programs and group runs. The stores provide knowledge and insights about the latest trends, the newest gear, proper running form and information about local races and trails. Additionally, stores can answer endless questions about racing, training and injury prevention. In other words, it’s a shop that goes out of its way to do everything for local runners, no matter what age, experience or ability.

Fleet Feet Sports Roanoke is locally-owned and operated by Blaine and Robin Lewis. The store opened in 2003 and was known as the “local running store.” That reputation quickly grew and the store has become known as the store for anyone wanting to live a healthy, active lifestyle; whether that means running, walking, or simply finding products to make a person feel better in their everyday life.

Fleet Feet Sports Roanoke is known in the community as the place to go to be “fitted” in quality footwear. Commitment and dedication to providing healthy solutions to customers is an important daily goal whether someone gets fitted for a pair of shoes, is provided fitness opportunities through the numerous training programs offered by Fleet Feet Sports Roanoke, or is provided advice and guidance about their fitness goals and activities.

Fleet Feet Sports Roanoke is located at 4347 Franklin Road in Roanoke. Learn more about Fleet Feet Sports online at www.fleetfeetroanoke.com or on Facebook (Fleet Feet Sports Roanoke).

A Second Consecutive National Accreditation Awarded to Roanoke Parks and Recreation

Roanoke, VA – Roanoke Parks and Recreation joins the ranks of the elite park and recreation departments across the country by earning their second consecutive accreditation through the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA) and the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). This distinguished accomplishment was awarded during the 2013 NRPA Congress and Exposition.


CAPRA accreditation is the only national accreditation for park and recreation agencies and is a measure of an agency’s overall quality of operation, management and service to the community. This mark of distinction indicates that an agency has met rigorous standards related to the management and administration of lands, facilities, resources, programs, safety and services.

As part of the accreditation process, Roanoke Parks and Recreation had to demonstrate compliance with 144 recognized standards and document all policies and procedures. Often the process helps identify efficiencies and heighten areas of accountability, all of which translate into higher quality service and operation to benefit the community.

The process for accreditation involves self-assessments, a formal application, a site visit by a team of trained visitors that results in a written report and a hearing with the commission to grant accreditation. Once accredited, the agency must uphold the standards and is reviewed again in five years.
“Our accreditation comes once every five years, but it’s something that stays top-of-mind for all of our employees year round,” said Steve Buschor, Director of Roanoke Parks and Recreation. “There are 5,600 parks and recreation organizations in the country, and I’m proud to say that we are one of only 119 that are nationally accredited.”

As a nationally accredited agency, Roanoke Parks and Recreation strives to deliver parks, recreation facilities and activities that are attractive, clean, accessible and provide memorable experiences that move the body, mind and emotions. For information about our best-in-class services and facilities, visit PlayRoanoke.com.