ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. – After three years of work, Roanoke County leaders have a new blueprint to build from in the Tanglewood Corridor.
On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors adopted the 419 Town Center Plan, an ambitious vision to transform the area with high density residential and outdoor retail. Adopting the plan was a major check mark on the list to redeveloping one of Roanoke County's most important economic corridors, but there won't be any major demolition anytime soon because the plan is just a vision of what could be if other stakeholders get on board.
In the years leading up to this moment, the ideas flowed from every direction as to what the vision should look like. And now, Roanoke County has them all together and officially approved as one cohesive plan.
"It's going to be a great economic engine, we hope, for future business attraction, as well as for the Fralin Biomedical Center's employment that's expected to grow in the future," Roanoke County Board of Supervisors Chairman Phil North said.
The 419 Town Center Plan lays out what the community wants to see in the corridor going forward, which includes not only housing and retail but transportation and infrastructure upgrades too. A half dozen people gave their final comments at Tuesday's meeting, nearly all in favor."
"I truly believe that we have an amazing amount of potential in the 419 corridor, the potential that we have for far too long let flounder for one reason or another," Roanoke County resident and business owner Brian Powell said.
The plan is just a blueprint for others to build off of; it does not mean that what people see in the plan will necessarily happen. Supervisor George Assaid voted no on the plan because he thinks people are interpreting the plan, saying it's too specific and not necessarily rooted in reality.
"There appears to be a degree of public confusion about the nature of the plan, I fear that many citizens do not understand the county's role and what the county can promise and achieve, and what it cannot," Assaid said.
County leaders were clear at the meeting that they can not make any private property owner get on board with the vision, but they're hoping developers will take what they've come up with and run with it.
"It's there for the future and the developments and we just need more people to step up who are ready to change the view and make it a better place for all citizens," North said.
Transportation was a major part of the plan and is one aspect that is moving forward immediately. The county recently secured funding for both a diverging diamond at the 419 interchange with 220 and upgrades along 419 in front of the mall. Both of those were achieved because of the work done by staff and residents in the plan.
The upgrades are "really a city, regional and county project. It will also help Franklin County with fluidity along 220. It's a win-win for the whole region in my mind and this is just one small step to helping us move on into the future," North said.