PENN LAIRD — As soon as Michael Martin parked his car, his four children bolted straight to the playground.
Their first stop: the zip line.
“The park is big, and just not the standard swings,” Martin said. “There’s more variety.”
Martin, 42, of Harrisonburg, and his children were among several hundred people to attend the grand opening of Rockingham Park at the Crossroads on Sunday.
The idea for the new park started in 2013, when the Taylor family, owners of Indian Trail Farm, approached the Rockingham County Board of Supervisors and offered to swap a roughly 72-acre property off of Spotswood Trail for 6.5-acre Albert Long Park.
At the time, the park was located near the intersection of Reservoir Street and Stone Spring Road. It hosted Little League games for 42 years.
County Administrator Stephen King said it was a deal the county couldn’t pass up. He said the Taylors’ offer favored the county.
“It’s really an incredible contribution to the community,” he said. “It’s humbling.”
Work on the park began in 2015, but construction delays set the completion date back until this past fall.
So far, the county has invested $11 million into the project.
The park’s four multipurpose fields already have gotten some use, with flag and tackle football being played there this fall. Concession stands and restrooms located by the fields also were finished this year.
Kirby Dean, the county’s parks and recreation director, said the new park is a place where people can have fun, socialize or watch a ball game.
“This creates an opportunity for people to come together,” he said.
One of the key pieces of the park, Dean said, is the $100,000 playground, which was funded by four local Rotary clubs — Harrisonburg, Rockingham County, Bridgewater and Massanutten.
Andy Vanhook, immediate past president of the Rotary Club of Harrisonburg, said the clubs raised $88,000 during their first three years hosting the annual Strawberry Festival in downtown Harrisonburg.
They combined that with a $12,000 grant from the Rotary district to come up with the total donation. About 50 Rotary members also helped set up the playground.
He said everyone supported giving money to the park.
“It’s something everyone can use,” he said. “We wanted something fun … where people could come and have a good time.”
In the near future, the county will add a paved, 1-mile walking trail, lights for the ball fields and pavilions, and restrooms near the playground.
Additional projects will be added in the future when money is available, Dean said. He said the county is committed to paying cash to build park facilities.
“What you see isn’t the finished product you’ll see 15 to 20 years from now,” he said.