Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation will honor the City of Virginia Beach’s first Parks & Recreation Director Harold S. Whitehurst (b. May 17, 1927 – d. April 13, 2012) by naming the aquatic facility at Great Neck Community Recreation Center the Harold S. Whitehurst Natatorium. The dedication ceremony will be held Saturday, April 13, 2013 at 10:00 am in the lobby of the Great Neck Community Recreation Center located at 2521 Shorehaven Drive in Virginia Beach.
Whitehurst was the department director from January 1, 1963 to September 30, 1991. His dedication and guidance shaped the City of Virginia Beach Department of Parks & Recreation into what is now recognized as one of the best in the nation. During his career as Parks & Recreation Director, Whitehurst achieved many accomplishments that have had a lasting effect to present day. Some milestones during his tenure include:
- January 1956 - The Board of Supervisors of Princess Anne County established a Recreation Department and hired the first Director.
- January 1963 - Princess Anne County became the City of Virginia Beach. The Department's name changed to Department of Parks, Recreation and Physical Education. The physical education aspect of the department was under the supervision of the School Board. The Department had expanded to include one full time employee to assume duties of Maintenance and Athletic Director. An Adult Recreation Program was developed.
- June 1966 - Little Island Beach Park was opened as the first seashore recreation area consisting of 144 acres.
- June 1969 - Lynnhaven Municipal Marina was constructed and opened to the public as the City’s first Marina with 50 slips leased out for recreational and commercial boaters.
- May 1971 - Princess Anne Park opened to the public as the City's fourth major park, which is currently undergoing major renovation to become a planned gateway to the Princess Anne Commons corridor that contains a mix of public and private uses, quality development and exceptional recreation and open spaces.
- July 1973 - Mount Trashmore Park opened, gaining international attention due to the unique aspects of converting a landfill into a park.
- 1973 - During this period, the Department's name changed to Department of Parks and Recreation; Physical Education separated from the Department and operated by the School Board.
- May 1977 - The Virginia Beach Recreation Center/Kempsville opened - the first multi-faceted center with numerous amenities.
- December 1982 - Munden Point Park opened to the public, located on the Intracoastal Waterway.
- December 1987 - A bond referendum was approved by the voters providing for the construction and operation of three large, multi-faceted community recreation centers and the renovation of the Bow Creek facility.
- June 1990 - Great Neck Community Recreation Center and Great Neck Park opened to the public in June 1990 with the Bayside Community Recreation Center opening April 1992, and the Princess Anne Community Recreation Center opening in March 1994
For additional questions about the Harold S. Whitehurst Natatorium Dedication Ceremony, please contact Michael Kalvort at 757-385-1122.
Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation’s vision is a balanced, sustainable and value-focused system of parks, recreation and public spaces that creates a sense of community. We are accredited by CAPRA, the certifying agency of the National Recreation and Park Association. For more information, call (757) 385-1100 (TTY: 711 Virginia Relay), visit VBgov.com/parks or sign up our email newsletters at VBgov.com/eNews. Find us on Facebook at facebook.com/VBParksRec.
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