Having checked off much of its wish list for downtown Roanoke, it’s time to draw up a new one. Add your wishes to the new list.
When Outlook Roanoke Update was compiled in 2002, the downtown consisted of a collection of aging buildings ripe for change. Now, 11 years later, the evolution is evident on nearly every block. Some 1,300 people live downtown, and more will surely follow as newly converted spaces come online.
Roanoke’s cultural offerings — its museums and prime downtown park — have also transformed into new dynamic spaces. Having checked off nearly all expectations spelled out in the 2002 plan, it’s time to start anew and to begin addressing emerging concerns: balancing the mix of residents and office workers so that new condos and apartments don’t crowd out office space; ensuring there’s a diverse mix of commercial space that accommodates all sizes and types of businesses; encouraging a stronger retail presence and development on parking lots; strengthening bordering neighborhoods.