Roanoke County residents ask for more business development in new survey

More than 600 people respond to citizen's survey

ROANOKE, Va. – A new survey is giving Roanoke County leaders a better idea of what residents want to see moving forward.

In December, Roanoke College's Institute for Policy and Opinion Research conducted the citizen's telephone survey and got more than 600 responses.

"People do think it's a nice place. We want to keep it that way,” assistant county administrator Dan O’Donnell said.

The majority of respondents said they think the county needs to focus on attracting businesses, retaining jobs and investing in infrastructure. County leaders 10 News spoke with said they're already doing that.

"We are making improvements to infrastructure to pave the way for future development and we spend a lot of our resources there," Roanoke County economic development director Jill Loope said.

Loope said big projects in the works like the Route 419 expansion, redevelopment at Tanglewood Mall and new plans for Explore Park will help attract more business.

"We’ve invested in expanding broadband throughout the county, so I think that's really going to help pave the way for small businesses and entrepreneurs to grow, as well as supporting our larger employers who need access to high-speed broadband," Loope said.

O'Donnell said one of the biggest challenges they face is slow population growth.

"People want to live in places like Roanoke County, where it's beautiful, but they also need to be close to employers and in order to get high quality employers to move here, you have to have a pool of talent to attract them, so we'd like to sell our quality of life and hope that people will move here so that good industry and business will follow," O’Donnell said.

It’s a strategy county leaders hope will attract more young professionals and more development.

Click here to view the full survey results.