By Marty Gordon
New recreation opportunities are coming to residents of eastern Montgomery County as local leaders officially broke ground Sunday for a new 6-acre recreation facility in Shawsville.
The completed facility will boast of two new baseball/softball fields, a new multipurpose football/soccer field, a picnic shelter, playground equipment, a paved walking trail around the entire park, a permanent bathroom facility and a permanent parking lot.
Mitchell B. Haugh, recreation director for Montgomery County, said this new project will help to ease the problem of a shortage of athletic fields in the county.
“Thousands of kids leave this County every weekend to play sports. We need to change that,” he said.
Ongoing money had been earmarked for future park development several years ago, and the money has added up. Earlier this year, the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors appropriated the remaining money needed for the project.
The new facility at 4390 Riffe Street is being built near the site of the old Shawsville Elementary School. In the past, two multipurpose fields did exist at the location but faced yearly flooding from the nearby Roanoke River. The new plan will push fields further away from the waterway.
The park will be named after former, longtime board of supervisor Gary Creed who represented the Shawsville/Elliston area of the county from 2002 to 2017.
With a price tag of $2.6 million, the Shawsville facility is expected to be completed in the fall of 2020.
A similar park of 28 acres is planned for the Riner area, but Haugh said there is no funding for the facility at this time. It is slated to be located to the rear of a new Riner Fire Department building and would include four softball and baseball fields and two multi-purpose fields.