Roanoke businesses collaborate to plan future of Williamson Road

ROANOKE CITY, Va. (WDBJ7) - For decades, Williamson Road in Roanoke has been a thoroughfare for business and restaurants of all types. But some business owners say the road is starting to show its age and is due for some sprucing up.

Wayne Hawley has been selling tires on Williamson Road for about 16 years.

"The businesses are fantastic, the people are fantastic, he said. “We just need a fresh coat of paint on it."

And he's not the only one who has high hopes for the road.

"We got some work to do,” said Wendy Jones. “And I think we can do it and I think we can get there."

Jones heads up WRABA - the Williamson Road Area Business Association. She said the business collaborating on eventual improvements to the road have their eyes on a few upgrades.

"The road needs better sidewalks, curb, gutter, better lighting and drainage," Jones said.

Their goals for improvement also include the overall aesthetic of the road, including streetlights.

"They do a great job,” she said pointing up at the lights. “They're just dated and harsh and industrial."

So far, the city has drafted two illustrations to get the conversation started. One illustration shows the potential to add trees and wider sidewalks. Another could transform Williamson into a two lane road - with bike lanes.

But nothing is set in stone and Jones and Hawley want other businesses to chime in.

"We want to know, what is it you think would be good, what do you think would help improve?" she asked.

Business leaders will get the chance to ask on Tuesday, Nov 21 when WRABA meets and gets a chance to talk to city leaders at the Holiday Inn on Ordway at 1:30 p.m.

Jones and Hawley admit the road to improve this road is going to be long and it's going to cost a lot of money. But some of them here are in it for the long haul.

"This road deserves it and what this road can be,” he said,” we can have all these buildings full."