Monday, August 1, 2011

Proposals for Countryside property includes a soccer sportsplex and co-op

Loop Tunnel

In a closed session Monday Roanoke City Council chose Northwest Recreation Club and Roanoke Valley Youth Soccer, and Roanoke Natural Foods Co-Op for further consideration to occupy the former Countryside golf course property.

The Northwest Recreation Club proposes a soccer complex that takes up most of the central area available for development. The area set aside for recreation in the Master Plan adopted by city council allowed for up to a maximum of 13 acres for recreation. Northwest Recreation Club is asking for 17.5 acres. The remaining three acres of residential mixed-use property is adjacent to the Runway Protection Zone (RPZ) and air traffic noise.

Councilwoman Anita Price’s husband Charles Price is a Northwest Region I football coach. Price and Northwest Recreation Club President Clay Dawson have been lobbying for the property for a year.

The proposal includes four full-size soccer/multipurpose fields with an additional smaller practice field. One soccer field can also be used for football. At least one field would have artificial turf and multiple fields would have lighting. The tennis building would be expanded to twice its size and used for locker rooms, restrooms and office space.

For the recreational investment by the club the city will not receive any monetary compensation. As a nonprofit the city will not receive any tax revenue. The club anticipates that their investment will generate collateral tax revenue from out of town teams. The city paid $4.1 million for the property and is still paying on the debt. NWR is asking for a 20 to 40 year lease.

A letter of interest from John Lipscomb of L & M, LLC, one member of a group, proposed purchase of the tennis building and 2.5 acres. It was rejected in favor of NWR. Lipscomb offered $100,000 for the property that would feature a tennis-pro. The for-profit entity would have generated tax revenue.

The Roanoke Natural Foods Co-op letter of interest is a lease-purchase offer. The lease for the 12.2 acres would start at $100 annually in the first year with an option to purchase the parcel for $90,000 by the end of the tenth year. They propose crops, orchards, chickens, and a donkey (to deter predators) along with 22,000 square feet of loop tunnels.

In addition a 2000 square foot office and produce packing structure would include retail space for community shopping two days a week. Roanoke Regional Airport owned the parcel before a land swap agreement transferred ownership to the city. This parcel was occupied by homes in the 1980s. The homes were relocated when the airport was expanded. The property is located in the direct flight path of the airport’s runway six.

The original purpose for purchasing the golf course property was to increase Roanoke’s housing stock and tax base. That proposition fell through years ago and the city has been struggling to offload the property ever since.

In a design yet to be developed the neighborhood will get an investment of $1.5 million in capital improvement funds to install trails and natural areas.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Community

Tags: , , , ,

Comments (9)

Jack Mcguire

August 2nd, 2011 at 9:01 AM    

I doubt if the Countryside folk will feel too good about this. I wouldn’t.


August 2nd, 2011 at 3:32 PM    

Nope, Jack not feeling too good about what was suppose to be enhancement to a neighborhood not a sports complex.

Don’t know about the chickens, cluck, cluck, cluck but fresh eggs sound good.

Thom Ryder

August 2nd, 2011 at 4:38 PM    

I certainly have no right to a voice in the discussion, but I’ll share what I think as an outsider, anyway. First The Sports Complex. Without looking at the details, I like the idea of recreation fields as a best use opportunity. Look at Waldron Park in Roanoke County. A neighborhood surrounds the park and enhances the community. I live across the street in North Lakes right next to the football field and softball/baseball fields. We embrace the activity. Recreation fields bring the right kind of visitors to your neighborhood with the added benefit of permanently disabling any future attempts to build house/businesses in the space. As for the Co-op, how cool is that? Again, here’s a unique use for the property. It will enhance the community. A weekly market sounds great. Eventually a teaching/learning facility is pretty cool. The donkeys will scare away the deer that eat your flowers. As for the chickens- hens don’t make a lot of noise…now those roosters…they’ll really get after ya. Anyway, I can think of (and many people have) many more horrible uses for my favorite place in the area. All that does not alter the fact that you should have been looped in on the hoop dreams.

Always, Newt


August 2nd, 2011 at 5:13 PM    

Look at the complex plans first. I guess the opinion depends on at what stage of life you are and what you want of the place you chose to live/retire.

As a senior it is peace and quiet. Most of us are seniors here and we moved here for the serenity.


August 2nd, 2011 at 5:16 PM    


You live there because you like living with a sports field across from you. You had a choice. We have no choice and would not have chosen to move here with a sports complex or stadium at our door.

The co-op sounds OK though I don’t know what to expect from it.

Jack Mcguire

August 2nd, 2011 at 5:32 PM    

Man, these Countryside folks were beside a beautiful golf course, now the plan is to have lights and athletic fields. And buisnesses as well. My Aunt lives by the Hidden Valley golf course.. I think that is the name. It is serene and beautiful, an occasional click of a golfball. I couldnt imagine it being changed to soccer fields with lights blaring..perhaps even PA systems blaring. These folks were RIPPED man, no other way to put it. I will give you a more rural example. My family farm in Troutville was bought by the County where Troutville elementary is located.Flowers that my Grandma planted still grow all these years later where the old house was. Normally out there you can see the Milky Way. You see one or two stars here in the City. When the school put in lights for games it destroyed the beauty of the area. This will destroy the Countryside area IMO. All because City Council would not do its damned job, and keep up its properties.

Thom Ryder

August 3rd, 2011 at 11:35 PM    

I fully understand, and I agree with the comments I’ve read here. Keep in mind that I don’t live there, I’m just an interested bystander who is sitting her typing while wearing my SAVE COUNTRYSIDE yellow t-shirt. I just tossed out my views as a launching pad for discussion.

Teresa Spangler

August 5th, 2011 at 7:55 AM    

I agree for the most part about the soccer fields. The lights and traffic are really a turn off. I think the Coop might be okay as long as it doesn’t become to commericial. The animals and farming sound okay, not sure about the big building and all the traffic that will entail. I really hope whatever they do they keep some greenspace for hiking/walking trails, I enjoy walking my dog around the old golf course and would hate to see that replaced by lots of lights, noise and traffic!


August 18th, 2011 at 3:03 PM    

And, the drama goes on and on!

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