Roanoke community getting excited for new in-river park

The park will have whitewater features, scenic overlooks and calm river playing areas

ROANOKE, Va. – Anticipation continues to build for a new in-river park in the Star City.

Last week Roanoke Parks and Recreation released renderings of what a new in-river park could look like near Wasena Park.

The park will have whitewater features, scenic overlooks, and calm river playing areas.

Katie Slusher is the Planning and Development Coordinator for Roanoke Parks and Recreation. She says the park is meant for anyone and everyone.

“The idea was that even if you never get in the river, there will also be some amenities on the banks of the river and improvements to the park here too that everybody can enjoy or at least enjoy what’s happening in stream,” Slusher said.

On Wednesday, Roanoke Parks and Recreation hosted a community meeting to address some of the questions people had about the park.

Many of the questions revolved around safety and some of the permitting processes. For the most part, people expressed their excitement for the park.

“I’m really excited to have this as a recreational opportunity right here in Roanoke, right down the street from my house. [I’m] very much looking forward to this,” Shawn Jadrnicek said.

A lot of the park is geared toward paddlers, kayakers, and tubers. Barbara Duerk is looking forward to kayaking with her Girl Scouts troops.

“We have so many people that live in the city that can’t go to Smith Mountain Lake, that don’t belong to the country clubs, and aren’t able to take part in our city pools right now. So the river is where so many of them are hanging out,” Duerk said.

Two million dollars in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding was allocated to this project in 2022 by the City of Roanoke, with an additional one million allocated in 2023.

The project is currently in the process of acquiring permits and finalizing designs.

About the Author:

Connor Dietrich joined the 10 News team in June 2022. Originally from Castle Rock, Colorado, he's ready to step away from the Rockies and step into the Blue Ridge scenery.