The City of Roanoke is looking at implementing a set of rules that will govern public play times in the gym at the Roanoke Recreation Center, and some of those proposed rules came under fire by one City Council Member at Monday’s meeting.
Tammi Holley cited several of the rules as being targeted specifically toward Black people.
Holley questioned the proposed requirement of a “proof of residency” for anyone wanting to enter the gym during public play times. She also questioned a proposed water-only requirement for drinks brought into the facility and a dress code item that would prohibit any visible undergarments. The proposed undergarment rule “includes but is not limited to slacking,” according to the list of rules.
“A lot of these seem like they are aimed directly at Black people,” Holley said, “because that’s who uses the rec center the most anyway.”
With a new gym floor in the works, the water-only rule was explained as a need to keep spills and stains from sugar-based drinks causing damage to the new floor. The need for proof of residency – whether that be in the form of an official ID or some other proof, such as a power or utility bill with a Roanoke address – was explained as needed to keep non-Roanoke residents from using a facility that is intended for use by citizens of the city.
The undergarment rule – while specifically referencing “slacking” – was also meant to curtail reports of some females playing only in sports bras.
Many of the other proposed rules would be considered industry standard for public areas. Some of those include no weapons, no alcohol or tobacco and no profanity.
The council did not vote on the proposed rules at Monday’s meeting.
Trash prices set
The council did pass – by a 4-2 vote – a measure that set the prices for the commercial dumpsters that will be collected by 121 Disposal beginning April 1.
Roanoke will be collecting residential trash with its newly-formed sanitation department beginning in April, but it will continue to use a third party for collection of its commercial dumpsters.
The prices will range from $17-$33 per collection (not per week) depending on the size of the dumpster. Those prices are a slight increase over what 121 is charging the city. Mayor Jill Patterson-Hicks said that the increase was added to account for the $1,000 per month that the city pays the Roanoke Utilities Board for handling the billing of the trash accounts.
Council members Tammi Holley and John Frank Houston voted no to the measure.
Roanoke voters passed a renewal of a 5 mill property tax by an overwhelming margin during a citywide election last Tuesday.
The turnout for the vote was light, but those who did show up supported the tax renewal 89 percent to 11 percent (157 votes for, to 19 against).
The tax money is used to fund programs at Roanoke City Schools. The measure that was passed extends the tax for 30 years, until 2052.
Roanoke police chief Jonathan Caldwell acknowledged an increase in calls to the PD regarding stray dogs in the city. Code enforcement officers have answered the calls promptly, but a backlog of dogs at the Randolph County Animal Shelter has prevented Roanoke officers from taking strays there since December.
Caldwell said that until space is cleared at the shelter, the city is limited on what it can do to get stray dogs off the streets.