Roanoke Valley Greenways seeking input for 10 year plan

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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) The Roanoke Valley Greenway Commission is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, and it's looking for feedback on what you from it in the next ten years.

Shayne Dwyer/WDBJ7

In 2007 the commission set a ten-year plan. It focused mainly on the Roanoke River greenway. Well since then it's come leaps and bounds, and now it's onto something else.

The Roanoke Valley is a growing network of endless outdoor opportunities. In the last ten years, the greenway commission has added more than 250 miles to the system and more is on deck.

"So the question for the Greenway plan is what's next, what's our next focus," Roanoke Valley Greenway Coordinator Liz Belcher said. "In the vision department I'm already hearing from people why don't we connect to Virginia Tech, can we keep going up the Roanoke River and through Montgomery County to connect to the Huckleberry Trail and to Blacksburg."

One of the biggest gets is Roanoke's neighbor to the north, opening a network of hundreds of miles of trails via a possible Tinker Creek connection.

"Botetourt County joined the Greenway Commission in June, and so when we look at updating the Greenway plan, we're also looking at how can we tie to Botetourt," Belcher said.

That's still in the works but what's for sure is an extension of the Roanoke River Greenway Eastward. Plans are already in motion to extend from the waste water plant to the Parkway. And now with $1.73 million in federal lands access program funds, the greenway will extend more than a mile and a half further down the river and into Explore Park.

Explore Park is in a re-creation phase right now and the county sees this connection as a huge win.

"It's extremely crucial, this is able to tie Explore Park closer to downtown Roanoke, to the entire Roanoke Valley, it allows us to be able for people to bike, hike, walk, all the way from different parts of the region to Explore Park," Roanoke County Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Director Doug Blount said. "We're going to be able to tie this greenway in through the Roanoke Valley Resource Authority closed landfill property and connect to the overlooks along the Roanoke River Parkway Spur Road."

Roanoke County recently solicited feedback for Explore Park's Master Plan and has ideas on the table. The eventual goal is for the Greenway to connect all the way from Salem, through the city, and out into the county ending at Explore Park.

Ribbon-cutting on that is still two or three years away. But community input on the greenway plan fo the next ten years in needed now.

To help celebrate the Greenway's 20th anniversary the commission is adding a triathlon to the gallop for the greenways. A four-mile run, nearly three-mile paddle and just under seven-mile bike ride up and down mill mountain.

The input meetings are as follows:

March 21, 6:30 p.m.
Botetourt/Greenfield Education and Training Center

March 27, 6:30 p.m.
Hollins/Mountain View Elementary School

March 30, 6:30 p.m.
Roanoke/Fishburn Elementary School

April 6, 6:30 p.m.
Glenvar/Glenvar Middle School

April 10, 6:30 p.m.
Vinton/Vinton War Memorial