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Roanoke City Council sells land for civic plaza, but not everyone’s happy

The parking lot is adjacent to the Higher Ed Center and neighborhood advocates are upset


ROANOKE, Va – On Tuesday night, Roanoke City Council came to a decision on what to do with a small parking lot near the Higher Ed Center.

This comes after months of back and forth with neighborhood and community advocates who were displeased with the city’s process.

The Higher Ed Center plans to turn the parking lot into a history and civic plaza, connecting the center’s expanding footprint.

But local advocates and neighborhood elders don’t want the project, saying it’s reminiscent of urban renewal and that outsiders are making decisions in African American neighborhoods.

The Higher Ed Center maintains it’s a good project.

“(There will be) granite markers and interpretive signage will include historical information of Gainsboro pioneers, based upon civil rights, based upon their contributions in education and also their work in business development,” Higher Ed Center Executive Director Kay Dunkley said.

Councilwoman Michelle Davis was the only council member to vote against the plan.


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