Ramblings: City Seeks To Spur Valley View Mall Development; Flood Resilience Plan Adopted; Discount Parking Idea Approved

What are Ramblings? Ramblings are a collection of short items that have caught our attention for one reason or another.

What are Ramblings? Ramblings are a collection of short items that have caught our attention for one reason or another. We’re on the lookout for tidbits related to money in politics, data, business, civic engagement or interesting events. Think you know of something that could be a Rambling? Drop us a line at editor@roanokerambler.com and we may well write about it. Happy reading!

Properties added to the city's enterprise zone include the former Sears building that anchors the mall. PHOTO BY HENRI GENDREAU FOR THE ROANOKE RAMBLER

Roanoke seeks to spur Valley View Mall development

Roanoke is seeking to spur redevelopment of parts of Valley View Mall.

City Council agreed this week to tweak the boundaries of the city’s enterprise zone, which encompasses properties that can be eligible for government incentives.

Marc Nelson, the city’s director of economic development, said the move is a response to Council discussion during a recent strategic retreat about “doing more in Northwest and up in the Valley View area” with economic development.

Properties added to the enterprise zone include the former Sears building that anchors the mall, as well as the storefronts that include Gabe’s and DICKS Sporting Goods. The Sears building has sat vacant since the store shuttered in 2019, save for pop-up vaccine clinics and a Halloween event.

“We're trying to aim more at some of the properties at Valley View that may need to be remodeled or are vacant, and this could potentially attract a developer to come in and remodel them,” Nelson said.

If a developer revitalizes properties within a city’s enterprise zone, they may be able to get local and state grants if the redevelopment creates jobs or if a certain amount of rehab investment is made.

State law limits how extensive a city’s enterprise zone is, capped at seven percent of Roanoke’s acreage. As part of the recent additions, Roanoke opted to remove some properties that are now owned by the city or nonprofits.

Don't miss a story!

Get local journalism you won't find elsewhere with our FREE weekly newsletter

Great! Check your inbox and click the link.
Sorry, something went wrong. Please try again.

Or become a member for full access

City adopts first flood resilience plan

Roanoke has adopted a resilience plan to deal with flooding exacerbated by climate change.

Having such a plan is a requirement for the city to seek state flood-mitigation grants established under Virginia’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

There’s $85 million available in funding this fall, and the city intends to apply before the Nov. 12 deadline.

The city has identified two flood resilience projects for the funding:

  • 1st Street and Salem Avenue drainage improvements — The project would replace and realign the pipe that runs along 1st Street between Salem and Campbell Avenue with a bigger pipe to reduce the risk of downtown flooding. The work is expected to cost as much as $2.5 million. 
  • Ore Branch restoration — This project would remove concrete walls that channel the Ore Branch through the former Ramada Inn property off Franklin Road. The aim is to restore a natural stream through the area, which eventually will be enhanced with trees and vegetation. Rerouting the stream is estimated to cost $825,000.

The full flood resilience plan can be found at this link.

Council approves discounted parking program

Drivers who work at downtown Roanoke restaurants, bars, shops and other service industries will soon be able to take advantage of a discounted parking program.

City Council approved a plan this week from PARK Roanoke, which operates city-owned garages and surface lots, to charge such workers half the usual price for monthly parking.

New monthly fees would then range from $27.50 for the garage on Campbell Avenue to $47.50 for the Center in the Square parking garage.

The new parking rates will go into effect Nov. 1.

An eligible resident must make no more than $32,000 annually; work in the service industry downtown; and be a new parker to the city system.

The program reserves six spaces at the Center in the Square Garage, 10 at the Market Garage and unlimited availability at the Elmwood Park, Gainsboro, Campbell and Church Avenue parking garages.

Support local, independent journalism and don't miss a single story!

Become a member

More Details