River’s Edge Park contains ball fields, tennis courts, and the Roanoke River Greenway, but a lesser-
known “amenity” of this park is a tunnel connecting River’s Edge to South Roanoke. While certainly convenient, users also describe it as creepy, dreary, and even smelly. The tunnel has nicknames (none of which are favorable), but with a new donation campaign, the Department hopes to change that.
By texting the word “TUNNELART” to 44-321 or visiting this website, the community can donate money to help transform the River’s Edge Tunnel from creepy to Instagram-worthy. Patrick Boas, PLAY Roanoke’s Recreation Manager, is leading the charge for this project. “For a while, we have been working through the logistics to do something fun and creative with this space. I’m excited that we are getting closer to making this a reality.” During a department-wide brainstorming session, department staff identified this tunnel as a key area where they could step up and make a positive impact. “I took those comments as marching orders and have been working to make it happen, not only for the community, but for our staff,” said Boas. “Similar to the Big Old Bikes at the Mill Mountain Spur, this project builds on our mission to create a welcoming community through play.”
The Department is working with several partners to get this space cleaned, prepped, and transformed into an interactive work of art; Boas said the estimated cost is around $10,000. “We want to make sure we do this right. It would be a shame to spend time and money on this just to have it ruined a year from now.” This donation campaign is taking place from now until May 31. The Department plans to start prepping the tunnel as soon as possible and hopes to have the mural completed by July.