The many offerings of the Roswell Parks and Recreation Department are designed to improve the lives of the city’s residents. From health and wellness to conservation efforts to recreation opportunities, the Parks and Recreation Department handles a wide variety of activities for local citizens and the community.
Among the properties and resources handled by the department are 32 parks and ballfields, 11.2 miles of walking trails, the Nancy Lopez Golf Course at Spring River, Spring River Park and Zoo, Bert Murphy Family Splash Pad, and South Park Cemetery. All this totals approximately 980 acres. The newest addition will be the Roswell Recreation and Aquatic Center. In addition to maintaining the parks, ballfields and trails, the staff also maintains the outside areas of several other properties throughout the city, such as the public library, City Hall, the Museum and Art Center, the Convention and Civic Center, and the Rowell International Air Center.
According to the National Recreation and Park Association’s national data, cities average one park per 2,114 people and 10.1 acres of park and recreational space per 1,000 residents. Roswell’s park numbers are better than the national average, with one park per 1,562 people and 19.6 acres per 1,000 residents.
Ongoing programming at the Roswell Adult and Recreation Center (807 N. Missouri Ave.) includes children’s camps, sports leagues and a plethora of “lifelong scholar” classes for all ages. The Parks and Recreation Department also offers events at its other facilities, from Zoo Camp to golf tournaments to Fourth of July festivities. Parks and Recreation also sponsors and assists with events organized by other entities, by helping provide equipment and staff to such things as Hike It and Spike It, Roswell Christmas Railway, Walk for Hope, and many other events bringing tourism dollars and entertainment to the community.
The national data includes surveys showing 85 percent of Americans consider high-quality park and recreation amenities as an important factor when they are choosing a new place to live. Those same studies indicate most Americans rank parks and recreation at the near same level of importance among local government-provided services as police, fire, schools and transportation. That’s not surprising, since Americans on average visit their local park and recreation facilities about 24 times a year, according to the national research.
Across the country, parks and recreation agencies create $154 billion in economic activity annually and 1.1 million jobs. In New Mexico in 2015, the Roswell Parks and Recreation Department was among these agencies that generated a statewide economic impact of more than $649 million and 5,807 jobs.
In keeping with the National Recreation and Park Association’s three initiatives – Conservation, Health and Wellness, and Social Equity – Roswell Parks and Recreation prides itself on maintaining a high level of excellence in each of these areas.
Regarding conservation, Roswell has been a “Tree City” for almost 29 years, holding the title longer than any other city in New Mexico. In order to receive and maintain a Tree City designation, cities must meet or exceed criteria regarding planting and maintaining a certain number of trees per capita. The public is also offered tree-planting initiatives with the Annual Arbor Day event in the spring, during which approximately 600-700 free trees are distributed. The Kenneth Smith Bird Sanctuary is another top-notch conservation project upheld by the Parks and Recreation Department, providing a natural habitat for many different species of birds, turtles, lizards and dragonflies.
When it comes to health and wellness, there are numerous annual walks/runs, sports leagues, exercise classes, dance classes, a health fair, the Roswell Games, and hikes/outings for adults and children.
Roswell Parks and Recreation supports social equity for local citizens with free events like the annual Labor Day Symphony Concert at the zoo. The parks, trails and even the zoo are also free to the public. Classes and other organized recreational activities are operated with affordable registration fees and many have scholarships available. The department’s research confirms the rates paid by program participants in Roswell are less than what most other New Mexico municipalities charge for Parks and Recreation activities.
To learn more about the Parks and Recreation Department and all it has to offer, call the Roswell Adult and Recreation Center at (575) 624-6718. The department’s administration office can be reached at (575) 624-6720. More information about the many aspects and activities of the Parks and Recreation Department is found on the city’s website at roswell-nm.gov/Parks.