I have long sung the praises of the outdoors recreation resources of the Roanoke region. Most of those resources are natural resources that are enhanced by man’s touch. Say, the Appalachian Trail, the Jefferson and George Washington national forests, streams and reservoirs.
Today, my column in The Roanoke Times focused on the possibility that Roanoke could get an amazing indoor climbing gym. The River Rock gym would share space with the River House development, a 128-apartment complex being built in a historic former cold storage building along the Roanoke River (and popular Roanoke River Greenway). The space will also be home to the Wasena City Tap Room, a casual pub that will have about 20 craft beers on tap. Yes!
Visionary Roanoke developer Ed Walker is the man behind the project, which would be similar to the above-pictured gym in Massachusetts. Walker, who has climber, former fly fishing guide and recent MBA grad Brent Cochran heading up the project, doesn’t jump into something without thinking it through. When he is committed he does things right. This is the real deal.
Today’s paper also included a piece by business reporter Amanda Codispodi about the plans for East Coasters bike shop to relocate to the long-abandoned former Virginia Museum of Transportation, which is just a couple hundred yards from the River House site.
I live about two miles from the spot and I am pumped. I already am on the Greenway a lot for rides and runs. I love the idea of being able to ride my bike with my wife and kids to the climbing gym, get a good workout (for all you hunters, climbing is a tremendous way to get in shape for deer season) and then go to the tap room for a cold IPA.
Roanoke’s rep as an outdoors mecca is getting stronger, and a place like River Rock can only help.
It’s not a sure thing. The developers are trying to gauge community support. There are no strings attached. Just go to the River House website. On the home page is an area to enter your email to “vote” for the climbing gym. I already voted. I hope you do, too.