Developers remain “optimistic” about contract that would bring coffee shop to Fishburn Park

Published: May. 26, 2023 at 12:28 AM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - The dream that Justin and Keri vanBlaricom have to bring “Fishburn Perk” coffee shop to Fishburn Park was put on hold when Roanoke City Council shot down their rezoning request 6-1 against at a public hearing May 15. Coming despite a unanimous recommendation from the planning commission, along with council voting 6-1 in favor of a contract for the land with the vanBlaricom’s in November 2022.

“Now that we’ve had a couple of days to reflect and talk and kind of feel out what’s what’s really happening and what we can do to move forward, we’re optimistic,” said Justin.

The contract says the vanBlaricom’s intend to purchase the 1.1 acres for $10 from the city and are expecting to invest more than $150,000 into it. Justin said recent talks with city leaders have him and Keri feeling that this isn’t over.

“There’s a lot of things that have to happen, but they’re open to working with us. And we’ve been working with city staff and trying to come up with a solution that kind of everybody can get on board with. So I don’t think it’s over, we haven’t got the exact plan yet, but we should have something in the next couple of weeks.”

The vanBlaricom’s have felt an outpouring of support from the Roanoke community after City Council’s decision.

“Ultimately, after that Monday night vote, we were kind of dead in the water. And I think that the community has kind of brought us back to life and given us support and kind of driven us to keep fighting for it.”

The current contract for the land between the vanBlaricom’s and the city runs until June 30.