We Are Improving!

We hope that you'll find our new look appealing and the site easier to navigate than before. Please pardon any 404's that you may see, we're trying to tidy those up!  Should you find yourself on a 404 page please use the search feature in the navigation bar.  

User Rating: 5 / 5

Star ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar Active

We learned early as a child if you needed to know something — you asked.

If you wanted something — you asked.

And that’s what a group of skateboard enthusiasts did when they saw a way to help the city’s parks department do something with abandoned tennis courts at Emry Park that were becoming a problem — they asked.

This group is now on the threshold of seeing something they want become a reality and we would simply ask that the Roanoke Rapids City Council grant their request as well as the recommendation given by parks and recreation Director John Simeon to help fund the remainder of what the Emry Park Skatepark Committee needs to see their dream come — funding through a portion of the city’s share of the occupancy tax and giving up some of the city’s funds to eliminate an eyesore at an otherwise beautiful and heavily-used park.

Simeon’s recommendation was about the most clear-cut discussion to come out of a very long budget work session Monday where there was no real direction given by the city’s governing body on what they wanted to do with the financial plan for the upcoming fiscal year.

We know at least two are not necessarily happy about a budget that comes with what is essentially an increase in the tax rate based on the 2024 property revaluation but it’s something we’ve argued in the past — that eventually you are going to have to bite the bullet and have one.

While we could try to meander through the stream of department head reports Monday, we won’t, with the exception of saying what most of us know already — costs are up and are up on many items the city is mandated to fund.

But we’d rather dwell on a group of young men and women who instead of kvetching woe is us on social media took a course of action that would make those founding fathers back in April 12, 1776 in the town of Halifax proud — they saw a need and presented a well thought-out plan of action to the right people and then took it to the city council, a panel which gave them the go-ahead to begin fundraising efforts for this project.

This committee didn’t sit on their keisters and expect the city to come up with all the funds and that’s what has frustrated us in this process is there are some who believe this project began from the city’s side when it actually began with a group of people who, while they appreciate the skatepark at T.J. Davis, know the more technical facility there may be too daunting for their kids who are just starting out.

This group never expected the city to cough up all the money. 

They started a GoFundMe campaign, had a skate day fundraiser in March and are not resting on Simeon’s recommendation Monday but are moving forward with another skate day fundraiser in September.

Questions of what to do about the Emry Park tennis courts have been on the agenda of the parks department for about as long, if not longer, than this website has been in existence.

It has taken a group of skateboard enthusiasts with a vision to see something done about it.

It’s what we would call tenacity. It’s what we would call having moxie and it’s what we would call being good stewards of this community and wanting to see a better Roanoke Rapids and a better Emry Park.

As a frequent user of Emry, we see its benefits, a nice shaded walking trail, playground equipment which is used frequently and athletic fields where groups are playing the universal game of football and the young baseball and softball players are getting their first feel of the game.

We have seen rehearsals for the Hispanic version of the sweet 16 party — the quinceanera — take place under the picnic shelter.

Now we see another possible use for this park taking shape and we thank this group led by a young man we have known for awhile — Justin Kerr.

He and others who have a passion for skateboarding used their knowledge of the system to start a grassroots effort and they knew if you wanted something done you ask for it. — Editor