In January 2023, Roanoke City Council approved a proposal to rename Kennedy Park in honor of the late Estelle McCadden, who passed away in 2022 at the age of 95. The community is invited to a dedication of the park, planned to coincide with McCadden’s birthday on April 28 at 11:00 AM.
McCadden was a longstanding neighborhood advocate, leader, and educator and was co-founder of the Melrose-Rugby Neighborhood Forum. She also founded the Virginia Statewide Neighborhood Conference, a non-profit organization working to promote safe and healthy neighborhoods across the state. “My mother always said that her legacy would be wonderful if she could help somebody along the way. That was her motto,” said Estelle’s son, Mac McCadden. “I do believe that bringing the neighborhood together is something she would be most proud of, and the naming of the park in her honor is a huge step in that direction.”
Mrs. McCadden’s impact extended well beyond the neighborhood and city in which she lived. She was the recipient of numerous awards including Roanoke’s Mother of the Year (1994), Roanoke Citizen of the Year (2008), the Girl Scouts of Virginia Skyline Council’s Women of Achievement Award (2019), the Friendship Foundation’s Vision and Values Award for Teamwork (2021), and the SCLC’s Martin Luther King Drum Major for Justice Award. After her passing, Delegate Sam Rasoul spoke of McCadden’s legacy on the floor of the Virginia House of Delegates, and lawmakers honored her by observing a moment of silence in her memory.
Estelle H. McCadden Park, formerly Kennedy Park, is located in the Melrose-Rugby Neighborhood in Northwest Roanoke. The park boasts spacious fields, walking paths, scenic mountain views, and an ADA picnic shelter. Beginning this summer, Roanoke Parks and Recreation will begin a master planning process for McCadden Park. According to Michael Clark, Director of Roanoke Parks and Recreation, "We look forward to working with the community in honoring Estelle McCadden's legacy as we plan the future of the park bearing her name." The dedication of McCadden Park will be held by the new park sign on Friday, April 28 beginning at 11:00 AM.