Members of Roanoke City Council visit ARPA-funded projects

Published: Sep. 25, 2023 at 7:02 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) -The city of Roanoke has earmarked more than $60 million in federal ARPA funds for projects it hopes will have a lasting impact.

On Monday morning, members of Roanoke City Council took a closer look at how some of that money is being spent.

In southeast Roanoke, members of city council met Mieshia Redd, a Habitat for Humanity home buyer, who hopes to move into her new home before the end of the year.

“And what does this mean for you and your family? Is this transformational for you,” we asked? “Yes. It’s a big transformation for us, especially for my kids,” Redd told us. “So I’m excited for it.”

“In this case, of course, you’ve got a new homeowner and there will be 18 through this process,” added Roanoke City Manager Bob Cowell. “You have folks learning job skills that they’ll be able to translate into new opportunities.”

In Northwest Roanoke, council members gathered with officials from Goodwill Industries of the Valleys in a room that will be part of the new Market on Melrose, the grocery store and community hub that Goodwill is building at its complex there.

Richmond Vincent is Goodwill Industries of the Valleys President & CEO.

“I think we have a unique opportunity to show the rest of this region that northwest does have some buying power,” Vincent told members of council, “and it’s worth you investing in building a business right here in northwest.”

And they stopped by the renovated headquarters of LEAP, the Local Environmental Agricultural Project, which addresses food insecurity in neighborhoods throughout the city.

“What a transformation for that site and what it’s able to do for our community,” said council member Vivian Sanchez-Jones after touring LEAP.

“Being able to bring all of these people together behind the same goal, making sure we’re reducing poverty, increasing health, and increasing the vitality of our neighborhoods is really important,” said council member Peter Volosin.

And there was an unexpected benefit from the tour.

Sanchez-Jones is a student support specialist with Roanoke City Public Schools. And when council members visited Huff Lane Park Monday morning, she noticed two high school students who should have been in class.

So, the council members took a brief detour and drove the students back to school.