Downtown Roanoke to expand as part of 20 year plan

ROANOKE (WSLS10)-- A new long-term plan for Downtown Roanoke is in the works and today is your first chance to share you vision for the future of the Star City. Local leaders are holding a meeting tonight for people who live, work and play in Downtown to share their ideas of how to make the community better.

The last 20 year plan for Roanoke was adopted back in 1997 and updated in 2002-- since then, a lot has changed. Now the City is working to improve on some of the changes we've already seen and are hoping to get more ideas from the community to incorporate into the 20 year plan, just as they have in the past.

"Some of our previous plans have called for things like improvements in Elmwood Park, revitalization of buildings like the Hancock Building, Patrick Henry Hotel and the Ponce de Leon," explains Senior City Planner, Wayne Leftwich. "Our previous plans talked about some of those efforts and we've seen a lot of those come to fruition."

Now that the central area of Downtown has been built up, the new plan will focus on expanding out. Within the next 20 years, city leaders want to connect the main Downtown area to other popular parts of the Star City.

"Making connections with some of the other pieces of Downtown," says Leftwich. "Whether its South Jefferson Street, the Salem and Norfolk area just west of Downtown. We expect that making better connections to different parts of Downtown will be a huge part of the conversation."

Thursday's public meeting offers the first chance for people in the community to share their ideas. Those ideas will be discussed over the next several months and by late winter or early spring, a new 20 year plan will be in place.

The meeting begins at 6 p.m. at the City Market Building. Another public meeting will be held on November 28.