Input needed for Reimagine Hollins Project

By Erin Brookshier - Virginia Today Reporter

ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. - Changes are coming to the Hollins area as part of a Reimagine Hollins project that is now underway. 

The Hollins district has the highest population density in the entire county, so the planning and zoning commission is looking for feedback from the people who live, work, and travel through this region every day.

The study area for the Reimagine Hollins project is about 465 acres, made up of more than 270 commercial and residential properties. 

It also includes a major intersection in Roanoke County, where Plantation Road and Williamson Road meet. Every day, about 16,000 vehicles travel along Plantation Road, with 11,000 driving through this portion of Williamson Road.

The study area stretches from the Kroger on Williamson Road to Hollywood’s Restaurant, and all the way up to Interstate 81. 

“This is our first gateway into the county as you head south on I-81, we’re trying to make it visually attractive,” says Philip Thompson, Roanoke County’s deputy director of planning. “This is an opportunity for people to share their thoughts and ideas about the challenges, issues, opportunities and improvements they’d like to see in the study area.”

Thompson says they’re looking for ideas on everything from new business or housing development, to transportation changes and facility updates. Final plans are expected to include a mixed-use center in the heart of the Hollins community. 

This study comes as the county continues work on two multimodal transportation projects in the Hollins area, with even more expected in the next few years. 

This new Reimagine Hollins plan is expected to be developed this fall and approved by the end of the year. This is work and change we won’t see right away, as major projects and updates like this take years and even decades to complete. 

“We have six pedestrian projects that are already in the works in the Hollins area,” says Thompson. “That was due to study we did 10 years ago, so we imagined that we would start working toward trying to find funding that would go into implementing these new findings.”

That’s why the Roanoke County Planning Commission is working to reach out to schools in the area. They say kids who are students right now will likely be adults with families of their own by the time this work is finished and they’re looking for their ideas on the project as well.

The first meeting is Saturday at the Hollins Library from 9 a.m. to noon. Click here for more details and a survey on the future work.

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