ROANOKE, Va. – Finalized plans for the Roanoke Valley greenway are headed to commission and board meetings across the region.
"It's great to have it done and to have the support of the localities in moving forward to get more greenways built," said Liz Belcher, greenway coordinator.
Belcher says a lot of things have changed since the last set of plans in 2007, with the region focusing more on tourism and the idea of "Roanoke Outside." That's why the focus is on expanding and connecting them. One specific goal is linking Green Hill Park to Explore Park by 2023.
"Finish Roanoke River Greenway. People love Roanoke River Greenway and they want it to be the backbone through the valley so they can get to Salem to the city to the county," said Belcher.
The 2018 plan outlines another big priority -- paths to Carvin's Cove. That was an issue that came up during public meetings. Along with that feedback, greenway users asked for more signage, maps and cellphone apps. Planners also hope to expand the greenway ambassador program to make sure activity on the trails is positive.
"Overwhelmingly, we heard people say we need bathrooms in the winter, not just in the summer," said Belcher.
Funding is front and center. So far, regional transportation funding and grants have helped, but greenway coordinators are asking localities to prepare to increase maintenance funding in the future.
Now the 2018 plan is moving through the localities for approval, and then Belcher says it's time to move forward.
To see the plan, click here.