Greenway stalemate lingers in Roanoke

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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) On a sunny spring day, the Roanoke River Greenway is a magnet for people and their pets enjoying the outdoors.

"It's perfect for biking, running, walking, just getting outside," said Patrick Pittman.

But it all comes to an abrupt end at Bridge Street, when the path reaches property near Walker Foundry.

"Would you like to see that area completed," we asked David Guthrie.

"Yeah, definitely I would like to be able to go back in that direction," he said. "It's nice getting our here going this one way, but once you go one way so many times, it would be nice to turn around and go the other."

Walker Foundry has said it isn't opposed to the greenway, and was willing to consider an offer to relocate.

But the company also argued the industrial site and recreational greenway are not compatible. And bringing the greenway near the foundry could jeopardize its permits and jobs.

In a statement, City Attorney Dan Callaghan said the city's efforts to acquire property rights have not been successful.

"The city concluded that the amount of public funds needed to secure property rights through a settlement agreement proposed by Walker Foundry could not be justified," Callaghan wrote. "The City suspends further negotiations with Walker Foundry at this time."

Walker Foundry President Glenn Muzzy declined comment Tuesday afternoon, but attorney Joe Sherman said the company is committed to serving its customers without interruption.

We expect to hear more from Walker Foundry in the next few days.

Following is the complete statement released by City Attorney Dan Callaghan:

"The City's efforts to reach agreement with Walker Foundry on the acquisition of property rights needed for the completion of the greenway have not been successful. The City concluded that the amount of public funds needed to secure property rights through a settlement agreement proposed by Walker Foundry could not be justified. The City suspends further negotiations with Walker Foundry at this time. Although this development means that the last leg of the greenway cannot be completed at this time, the City will move forward with modifying a Norfolk Southern bridge structure that spans the Roanoke River between the Norfolk Southern Materials Yard and City property bearing Official Tax Map No. 1510301. These improvements are a part of the “Bridge the Gap” Project."

"The actions taken by City Council on April 15, 2019, clarify and confirm the City’s position in its dealings with Walker Foundry over the past several years; the City has not initiated eminent domain proceedings with respect to the Walker Foundry properties and the City has no plans to use the portion of the beltline adjacent to the main foundry parcel for expansion of the greenway."