New section of Roanoke River Greenway opens

Half-mile stretch goes behind Norfolk Southern maintenance yard

ROANOKE, Va. – Roanoke is one step closer to filling the gaps in the Roanoke River Greenway.

Mayor Sherman Lea and other city leaders cut the ribbon on a new piece of the greenway Thursday afternoon. The project cost more than $4 million, which was paid by both the city and donors.

The half-mile stretch near Peters Creek Road winds behind the Norfolk Southern maintenance yard and includes a brand-new bridge.

"These projects cement our identity as an active, outdoor community," Lea said.

The new trail is also good news for experienced greenway walkers such as Steve Clingenpeel, who often walks his dog on the Vic Thomas Park section of the greenway. Clingenpeel says the new section is closer to his home.

"I like it," Clingenpeel said. "You could ride out of the house on the bicycle and never even have to get your vehicle out."

The last prominent gap in the greenway lies on land owned by Walker Foundry. Foundry President Glenn Muzzy said turning the land into a greenway would "destroy his business" in a 2015 interview with WSLS. However, Lea reaffirmed the city's commitment to bridging all of the gaps in the trail during the new section's ribbon cutting.

"This small section is another piece of the puzzle towards connectivity," Lea said. "Soon, the Roanoke River Greenway will be 27 uninterrupted miles."

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