Former landfill to become greenway thanks to $1.7 million grant

By Rachel Lucas - Weekend Anchor / Reporter

ROANOKE (WSLS 10) - Money has been secured to design and build one of the final stretches of the Roanoke River Greenway.

Thanks to a federal matching grant totaling $1.7 million, a new greenway connecting downtown Roanoke to Explore Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway is now in the design phases.

Making the best of our natural resources, it wasn't long ago that the beautiful scenic outlook near Explore Park where the greenway will be built was a landfill.

"Getting the FLAP (Federal Lands Access Program Grant) grant is tremendous for our department and the Roanoke Valley," said Scott Ramsburg with Roanoke County Parks, Recreation and Tourism.

The Federal Lands Access Program grant is a 20/80 match with Roanoke County. Ramsburg said 80-percent of the money was provided by the federal government, while the remaining 20-percent was matched by Roanoke County both in cash and land value.

Ramsburg and Lindsay Webb, also with Roanoke Co. Parks, Recreation and Tourism, walked WSLS 10 through the site that's becoming a popular attraction.

"It's a great opportunity to do reclamation of the landfill and turn it into a community asset," Webb said.

The $1.7 million dollars will launch the county into the design phase of the greenway and even carry the project through to construction set to be complete in 2020.

"This will offer citizens the ability to have a 27-mile greenway network. We'll be able to hold marathons and really connect our region. Our residents will have an attraction to really be able to connect from downtown to Explore Park and we will be able to capitalize on assets in our backyard," Webb said.

"Being at the gateway for Explore Park as it becomes a growing outdoor adventure park is something that we all look forward to. It's a crucial part of the area's economy," Ramsburg said.

Ramsburg said it plays into the role of Roanoke being a regional tourist destination for those interested in the outdoors.

"It's really going to be a tremendous asset to users in the future as the park continues to develop as an outdoor attraction," Ramsburg said.

Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved