Rockingham Budget and CIP
The CIP includes an amphitheater at $1,000,000 and a recreation center/field house at $7,000,000. But unfortunately there are no plans to improve pedestrian or bike access to this park. Across the busy street of Spotswood Trail (Route 33 East) from the park are several hundred homes. Currently everyone who wants to access the park must drive there which makes for a parking problem and gives incentive to pave over more and more of the park.
Pedestrian access across Spotswood Trail should be addressed before the amphitheater and recreation center projects, both of which will add to the current parking problems. Pedestrian access should involve more than painting crosswalks on high-speed 33 East. Elementary aged kids who live so close to a park should be able to access it independently without getting into a car.
There are additional concerns with the amphitheater and rec center projects apart from parking and resource prioritization. The amphitheater will have a negative impact on neighbors. The front of the park faces Spotswood Trail, but the back neighbors are farmers. Noise, crowds, and trash that go along with concerts aren’t a good fit for farming. These additional concerns must be taken into account before a decision is made to build an amphitheater.
A regional recreation center also has drawbacks. In addition to consuming a large part of a recreation department budget, it centralizes recreation programs – meaning local community based but smaller programs will likely fade.