Some Roanoke Greenways could reopen as soon as next Friday

Published: May. 6, 2020 at 11:39 PM EDT
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For mountain biker Camden Kurtz, the

pandemic has meant spending more time outside than inside

"We've been out here five, six days a week on average," he said, after bouncing down Mill Mountain Wednesday.

Kurtz has been able to ride plenty of trails around the Star City, but one place has been off limits: Roanoke City's Greenway network, closed since April 3.

But that could soon change.

During a virtual press conference Wednesday, Roanoke City leaders said if Gov. Ralph Northam moves ahead with Phase I reopening in Southwest Virginia May 15, they'll move ahead with reopening the Greenways.

"On May 15, the Garden City, Tinker Creek and Lick Run Greenways, will once again be open," said Mayor Sherman Lea. The Mill Mountain Greenway would also open the 15th.

The Roanoke River Greenway would follow a few days later, Tuesday, May 19, as would the access road to the Star.

"That will exclude the associated parking areas," said City Manager Bob Cowell. "We'll continue to keep those closed in an effort to try and limit the number of folks who actually travel to the Greenway."

At least one area will also close down as trails open up.

"Wiley Drive will be closed temporarily to vehicle traffic, along its entirety, through Smith Park, and through Franklin Road, to Crystal Springs Avenue," said Mayor Lea.

Lea says the goal is to give people more space to spread out.

And when people do get outside, there are a few things they'll have to keep in mind: Some restrictions will remain in place. People will still need to stand about 6 feet apart, and groups of more than 10 will remain banned.

"Reopening does not mean everything resumes like it was before," said Vice Mayor Joe Cobb.

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