- Associated Press - Sunday, February 8, 2015

BROADWAY, Va. (AP) - Motivated by its festivals and expanded recreational activities, Broadway is giving the town’s parks a boost.

Five years of upgrades at Community Park are nearing an end, while Heritage Park will have a new performance stage by spring.

“The town really wasn’t in the recreational business until a few years ago,” Town Manager Kyle O’Brien said.

In 2006, Broadway acquired Heritage Park along Turner Avenue, not far from J. Frank Hillyard Middle School. A year later, the nonprofit Broadway Community Park board of directors turned over its property at Sunset Drive and Turner Avenue to the town.

O’Brien said Town Council agreed following the acquisition of Community Park that it was in need of major equipment and facility repairs. As a result, the town developed an estimated $500,000 five-year improvement plan with the work coming to an end this season.

Repaving walking trails throughout the perimeter, and installing lights along the upgraded Little League fields are among the last jobs to be finished at Community Park. New dirt, turf, backstops and fencing make the fields a far cry from the decayed diamonds they were last year, officials say.

In the last five years, the park received a new playground, the unused tennis court was paved over for additional parking, the swimming pool repaired and the inside of the community center renovated.

A Verona company has agreed to donate LED lights for the fields while Dominion Power contributed the poles, Councilman Chad Comer said.

Comer expects Community Park, located on the west side of town, will see increased use from the improved Little League fields and rehabilitated pool, while the new stage in Heritage Park could mean added festival revenue.

O’Brien said the latter location is on a flood plain and, therefore, was never going to be developed for businesses or homes.

Last month, Rockingham County donated 2.6 acres to the town, including a baseball field, that was added to Heritage Park. Also, across Turner Avenue from the park sits an additional empty 4 acres, which is used for parking during events.

O’Brien said plans for the vacant property should be drawn up within thenext two to three years, but could not say what they might entail at this point.

As for the stage, it will stretch 12 feet by 24 feet, and will be raised with a forward-slanting roof and open back. Estimated cost of the project is about $24,000, funded by $10,000 in state grants with the rest coming from private donations, according to the town.

On Thursday, O’Brien and Chad Dellinger, Broadway’s director of public works, ignored the thin layer of snow still covering Heritage Park to map the area for the stage. It will stand at the park’s north end, replacing the temporary stage, which Broadway previously used for outdoor events.

“It’ll be nice to have something permanent there,” O’Brien said.

Work is expected to finish by May, in time for the Broadway Hometown Partnership’s Spring Beer and Wine Festival.


Information from: Daily News-Record, https://www.dnronline.com

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