Saturday, August 4, 2007

Shine the Light: Open Your Eyes

The Roanoke Times weighed in this morning on the veil of secrecy that has covered the Countryside “Development” fiasco. The Times suggests that the city should lift that veil. That would have been the right thing to do. We feel that when the veil is lifted, City Deciders and the Roanoke Times editorial board need to rethink their support for the destructive development.

You can read the latest from the Roanoke Times right here. Please feel free to disagree with them.

Veiled Position

You can choose to disagree with them in our comment section or on the Roanoke Times Round Table.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Commentary

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August 4th, 2007 at 11:28 PM    

We believe developing Countryside makes sense. It provides a rare opportunity for Roanoke to add new homes and new people within the city limits
~Roanoke Times Editorial Board 8/03/07.

Sense? Hardly. The secret city development plans make no sense to me. Building condo’s and high-density housing under an airport approach will not help stem the erosion of Roanoke’s population. Such a high-density development may have a major impact and drain on city services and schools. Opening a through road between Peter’s Creek and Hershberger fulfills no reasonable transportation need. Adding office and small business space along the new strip will add unwanted traffic around a major school artery and will help create office and business space vacancies somewhere else in the area. This hardly makes sense to me.

Instead, the city should work on revitalizing what it already has. That includes business corridors like Hershberger near Crossroads Mall, Melrose Avenue, and Williamson Road. These areas should be made more attractive for businesses and consumers.

An investment in the existing communities makes more sense. A green space like Countryside is a huge potential asset as a recreational space for all citizens and especially for the recreationally starved Northwest. With vision and resolve, the city could create a recreational facility that includes a championship municipal golf course, tennis courts, a competition swimming pool, exercise rooms, a multipurpose gymnasium, meeting rooms, and fitness trails to both serve all the citizens and become a positive revenue stream for the city. The proximity of the Countryside property to William Ruffner and William Fleming schools gives it the added advantage of easily serving the needs of the city’s youth. Such an investment pays great community dividends and trumps any revenue a strip mall, condo row, or pack of houses could ever hope to generate.

Roanoke City can’t expect to pave and build its way out of the doldrums. Improving the quality of life for its existing residents is the only way to chart improvement and grow stronger. Fully utilizing Countryside as a recreational space is vitally important for the city. I believe that the Roanoke Times Editorial Board and Roanoke City Council need to reevaluate what makes sense on this issue.

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