Something to do, after all

Published 10:52 pm Friday, May 25, 2012

Considering how much Suffolk has to offer its residents, it has always been a little hard to understand why there were such limited recreational opportunities to be had. With great park locations like the ones at Sleepy Hole, Lake Meade and Bennett’s Creek, visitors are sometimes surprised at the shortage of amenities that citizens have to choose from.

For many years, if a resident did not play golf or tennis and did not have a boat and a dock on the Nansemond River, there was little recreational opportunity to be had. Hunting, fishing from the shore of one of the lakes or playing basketball or softball in a recreational league are not pursuits that attract a wide variety of people. And Suffolk’s new recreational center near downtown is nice, but it has found a limited audience, as well.

Of course, every recreational pursuit one could name comes with a limited audience. Folks are all different and choose to spend their recreational time in different ways. That’s why cities strive to offer a variety of recreational activities for their citizens. And it’s the large variety of recreational opportunities that has been missing in Suffolk for so long.

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Lately, though, things have begun to change, and Suffolk citizens can take heart in the fact that there are a number of new recreational choices on the way. The latest announcement is that the city will build a couple of dog parks — one for large dogs and another for small ones — at Lake Meade Park.

That park, which already boasts a collection of tennis courts, a large playground, a skateboard park, and a couple of picnic areas, is growing by leaps and bounds. The dog park is part of a larger plan to add trails, picnic areas and more parking to what is already a favorite destination for folks in the southern and downtown portions of the city.

Another addition to the recreational menu is a kayak launch planned for Constant’s Wharf. That facility will give the average Suffolk resident access to the upper Nansemond River that they have not had before.

All of these are welcome improvements, and each will succeed in getting a different group of people outside to enjoy all that Suffolk has to offer. Soon, there won’t be any good reason to complain that there’s nothing to do, and parents of teens throughout the city will have reason to rejoice.