Residents react to possible development on Old Blacksburg Middle School property

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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) - After 10 years as a grassy field, the Old Blacksburg Middle School property could soon move forward with some development.

Tuesday night the town council unanimously approved a rezoning request that would allow this empty field to transform into a mixed-use space.

Laurie Fahl just moved into a home near the property and is interested to see how it will transform.

"I like this area, I like the proximity to downtown, and if this area is developed that's going to be even better," Fahl said.

Midtown Redevelopment Partners owns the 21 acre property and said it has taken a long time to get to this point.

"This has been a very long process, I think we've been involved with this property since 2011," Owner Jim Cowan said.

Cowan said they have plans to see restaurants, townhouses, and even a hotel fill the space.

"We really see it as an anchor to help the other retailers and shops in downtown Blacksburg by increasing the amount of foot traffic both of long term residents and folks who are working there," Cowan said.

The project could take anywhere between 5 to 10 years to complete. After that, the development could give pay up to $1 million annually to the county and the town each in different fees and taxes, Cowan said.

But those who walk along South Main Street everyday said they are worried the construction will ruin what they like about the town.

"I will not like that because as I said before what makes Blacksburg beautiful is the green land," Virginia Tech Student Nora Mohammed said.

One of the other concerns people brought up was the added traffic from the new town-homes and residences in the space.

Midtown Redevelopment Partners said they recognize that as a concern and have taken into consideration adding things like a traffic light on the corner of Eheart Street and South Main Street.