On Wednesday, July 1, River’s Edge North Park officially opened to the public. The Department broke ground in June 2019 and completed the finishing touches June 2020. With the exception of the two Bermuda grass athletic fields, citizens can now enjoy the park amenities as well as restored access to River’s Edge South.
The updates are in response to a need for more premier athletic fields to alleviate the usage on the south side of the park and to encourage outside entities to host tournaments and events in the region. The updates to the park include a new lighted walkway with space for vendors, a fountain feature, cement wall seating, two parking lots, two Bermuda “Latitude 36” athletic fields, light features, and a paved-greenway connector from River’s Edge South to Reserve Avenue.
The athletic fields should be ready for play by late summer. These next several months are a critical time for the establishment period for the new turf’s root system. To complement the greenway trail system, we have opened the newest Roanoke River Greenway trail connector. This connection provides improved trail access to Carilion-Clinic Riverside, the south Roanoke neighborhoods, downtown, and the Mill Mountain Greenway.
Donnie Underwood, Park Planning Manager for the Department said, “River’s Edge Park lies at the epicenter of both the City’s and the region’s premier public spaces,” noting its proximity to the greenway, blueway, downtown, Roanoke Memorial, and Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine. ”It provides the synergy for Roanoke’s economic and wellness livability.”
To maximize available funding for the park, the Department essentially served as its own general contractor, utilizing both private and City experts in bringing this new edition of River’s Edge to the public. Lumsden and Associates, Carolina Green Corp of Charlotte, Musco Sports Lighting, and MB Contractors did much of the heavy lifting. Aside from the private contractors, the region’s newest park could not have happened without the help of other City departments and divisions such as our own Parks Maintenance staff and the Facilities Management staff.
Due to the ongoing pandemic, the Department will not hold a formal ribbon cutting; however, there are plans for socially distant events in the near future.