On Thursday, February 28, Mayor Lea and City officials joined Roanoke Parks and Recreation to celebrate the official opening of a new section of the Roanoke River Greenway at 3304 Aerial Way Dr.
Completed in just 18 months, this new, half-mile stretch is one more piece toward complete connectivity throughout the Roanoke Valley.
“The Roanoke River Greenway is the backbone of the greenway system in the Valley, and this project brings us closer to the big picture—total connectivity spanning many municipalities,” said Renee Powers, Trails and Greenway Supervisor, Roanoke Parks and Recreation.
This new section begins at Aerial Way Drive, crosses the Roanoke River, and extends to the Norfolk Southern Materials Yard. Because the majority of this particular area is in an easement on Norfolk Southern property, their cooperation was critical in completing this section. Grants from VDOT were the major funding source, but a group of citizens named Bridge the Gap Donors donated over $1 million of private funds to this section as well as the other section upstream that meets up with Peter’s Creek Road.
Michael Clark, Director, Roanoke Parks and Recreation, said, “As I’ve mentioned in the past, the best way to make change happen is through public-private partnerships, and because of these generous people, we were able to build a large portion of greenway trail relatively quickly. I’d be remiss if I didn’t recognize this special group of citizens.”
While this section is not currently a high-traffic area, it is an important piece of the overall greenway plan and creates an opportunity for more workplace activity for those employed in the industrial area. With this section finished, only three projects remain to complete the Roanoke River Greenway.