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Walker Foundry owner won't back down on Roanoke River Greenway land debate

Owners of Walker Foundry say they will not sell to the city. (Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved)

ROANOKE (WSLS) - The debate over land along the Roanoke River Greenway continues. During a news conference on Tuesday, the owner of Walker Foundry stood firm on his decision to not sell the company's land to the city.

"This places the livelihood of our 70 employees at risk" said Glenn Muzzy, Walker Foundry President. "The city refuses to see how the greenway will destroy our business."

The company specializes in melting metal. Muzzy said having a trail nearby would be a safety concern.

Roanoke City engineers said they are working to complete a ten mile section of the greenway. They said they've already reached agreements with other property owners and hope to see Walker Foundry cooperate too.

"Sure, there are always other options. We think this is the preferred option and we will try hard before we give up," said Phil Schirmer, Roanoke City engineer.

Currently the greenway ends near Bridge Street. The city wants to acquire land owned by Foundry Walker.

With each side standing firm, Greenway users are waiting to see whether its Walker Foundry or the Greenway that comes out on top. John Kemp said he bikes the greenway almost daily. He said he sees both sides of the land debate.

"I can understand his fear {Walker Foundry} to have 70 workers there," said Kemp. It's definitely going to be interesting to see how it shakes out. The greenway has come too far."

Walker Foundry company lawyers said they will fight any efforts to condemn the land. They expect the property debate to go on for months, if not years.