New city artwork plan partially funded by Department of Stormwater Management

Murals to be painted on storm drains

ROANOKE, Va.- – Part of a public artwork plan by the Roanoke Arts Commission will be using taxpayers money to beautify storm drains around the city.

It's called the Inlet Art Project. It was created by the Department of Stormwater Management, which brought the idea to RAC.

The Department of Stormwater Management is covering the cost for the project. The money comes from the stormwater utility budget, which consist of the fees collected from taxpayers.

It will cost $5,000 to paint murals on the inlets and storm drains as a way to bring more attention to putting trash in the proper place and not in the drains, which are directly connected to water streams.  

The locations chosen by the Stormwater Division to have murals include:

Grandin Village (in front of Roanoke Co-op across from the Grandin Theatre)
In front of the Main Library
Church Avenue and First Street (in front of the post office)
Reserve Avenue and South Jefferson Street
22nd Street and Crystal Spring Avenue, (in front of River and Rail restaurant)
In front of West End Park on Campbell Avenue SW

There is a mixed reaction about the murals to be install in Spring 2018, but Leigh Anne Weitzenfeld, the Water Quality Administrator of the Stormwater Division says it's all about education. It will eventually expand to other neighborhoods and city schools

"I think is a bigger bolder statement than what we have now. Those smaller signs to the river can't get missed. So any sort of great public art piece that will go there will really draw people's attention," John Bryant of the Roanoke Co-Op said.

"The kids like to get their snacks and they end up everywhere. So I'm just not sure beautifying the storm drains is going to help the real neighborhood," said Steve Black of Goldsmith Jewelers.

"Anything that goes through the storm drain such as oil, plastic bottles or any kind of trash is deposited into the nearest stream. There is no cleaning of the water that transpires," Leigh Anne Weitzenfeld, Stormwater Division said.

The Roanoke Arts Commission presented the plan to City Council on Monday. Local artist will paint the murals.

The RAC will also partner with Ride Solutions and Valley Metro for Art on the Bus to place artwork on city buses in 2018.

There will be a mural will be on the first floor of the Municipal Building North and new art in the new Melrose Library.