Amid backlash from rules governing participation and behavior at the Roanoke Recreation Center, the Roanoke City Council voted Monday to keep the facility closed until the rules could be reviewed further.
Roanoke resident Rosalyn Langston appeared before the council for the second straight meeting to address her concerns with the recreation center rules, which the council passed June 26.
The center is in the midst of an ongoing renovation and has not been open since the rules were passed. As a result of Monday’s action by the council the facility will remain closed indefinitely.
Speaking to the council at Monday’s meeting, Langston parsed the rules with great detail, asking the council to clarify what constitutes groups of 10 or more, whether “no music” applies to music played on headphones and what “purposeful damage” refers to.
“This is things that need to be addressed because these rules are so vague,” she said.
Langston also expressed concern that rules have been implemented for the recreation center and not other city-owned recreational facilities like baseball and softball fields, a topic she addressed while asking about the clear-bag policy for the recreation center.
“If you’re saying clear bags, you can’t just say clear bags for the rec., for this facility and not…Because clear bags would be for everything. Because otherwise it does look like you’re just singling out this group of people,” she said.
Roanoke mayor Jill Patterson-Hicks indicated that, as part of the review of the rec. center rules, the city will also look at creating a more universal policy for recreational facilities throughout the city.
Langston, who serves as the President of the Roanoke City Schools Board of Education, also created an online petition seeking support for her stance.
That petition went online Tuesday morning, stating, “As a concerned resident of Roanoke, Alabama, I am writing this petition to address the issue of unequal access to the City of Roanoke recreation center. It is disheartening to witness rules and regulations that specifically target certain individuals, ultimately restricting their ability to enjoy the benefits and facilities provided by our city.”
As of late Tuesday morning the petition had 46 online signatures, although at least one comment was from someone located in Dothan.
Patterson-Hicks and council member Kesa Johnston have maintained that the rules were implemented in order to prevent wear and tear on the newly-renovated recreation center and to create a safe environment for those using the facility.
“The intent of the rules is safety and protection of taxpayers’ dollars,” said Patterson-Hicks.