City, Rotary consider effort to improve city’s Bug House Park

Published 6:17 pm Friday, June 17, 2016

Washington’s Bug House Park, once known as the Charlotte Street Recreation Center, may be in line for improvements.

The site once housed the Bug House Laboratory, later called the Washington Field Museum. It once housed one of the largest insect collections in the southeastern part of the nation..

The City Council, during its meeting Monday, discussed the park. During the discussion, City Manager Bobby Roberson told the council the contractor hired to resurface the tennis courts at the park has terminated the contract, so the courts will not be resurfaced at this time. Roberson said the Washington (noon) Rotary is interested in helping rehabilitate and improve the park.

“We want to get a historical perspective about Bug House Park. As you well know, during World War II, it was the largest amateur collection of bugs in the southeastern part of the United States. … What we want to do … is to actually do some in-fill with bugs in the park — for playground equipment. One would be a like a butterfly or like that,” Roberson said.

Removing the chain-link fence at the park is being considered because it poses problems for city maintenance crews. Roberson said adding additional playground equipment at the park is another option being studied. “Our best move to improve Bug House Park would be to add some additional swings and equipment,” Roberson said.

As for the fate of the tennis courts, that’s an issue the city will revisit, possibly coming up with “another quote-unquote adaptive reuse” of the space where the courts are located, Roberson said. Bug House Park, with improvements, could become a complementary park to Havens Gardens, he said.

Mayor Mac Hodges said representatives of the Washington Rotary approached him about working on a project with the city that would benefit city residents. Hodges said he recommended the club help the city rehabilitate Bug House Park. Hodges said the city would develop the plan for the project, with the club helping fund its cost.

“Whatever we do, we’ll bring it back before council (for approval),” Roberson said.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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