Roanoke's Wasena neighborhood celebrates 100 years with block party

Neighborhood experienced recent surge of commercial growth

ROANOKE, Va. – A Roanoke neighborhood is celebrating 100 years young with a big party this weekend, and that means shopping discounts for you.

Wasena is right across the Roanoke River from downtown. The River House apartments and Wasena Tap Room started the economic re-birth in the area about a decade ago. But many of the run down storefronts on Main Street remained vacant because they were owned by someone who did not want to sell, nor do anything with them. 

When that finally changed, local developers came in hot with money in hand to renovate the commercial part of the neighborhood. Many businesses have followed such as a coffee shop, tattoo parlor and more, and their success wasn't too far behind.

"It all started when Ed Walker bought the ice house, and we were just excited to be able to walk to a restaurant," Wasena Neighborhood Forum Treasurer James Settle said. "And now we have four restaurants in the neighborhood and all kinds of cool businesses and more to come."

Neighbors said they've seen their home values go up and there is now an even bigger demand than before for space to live. They also said that unlike in other cases where development could be viewed as gentrification, in this case the people who have been in the neighborhood are not being priced out.

Local businesses are offering special deals and discounts to help celebrate. The event runs through Sunday.

About the Author: