Roanoke River Greenway Expansion Needs Help - WSET.com - ABC13

Roanoke River Greenway Expansion Needs Help

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Reporter:  David Tate

Roanoke, VA - Friday the City of Roanoke will be opening another section of a growing greenway -- that will add to the 14 mile trail that runs along the Roanoke River.

But something's missing between the Roanoke and Salem sections and community leaders are looking for some help to change that.

About 4-miles of greenway, which is why tomorrow will also kick off the public portion of a capital campaign called "Bridge the Gap".  When that gap is finally filled, Roanoke will have one of the longest continual greenways on the east coast.

The primary communities of the Roanoke Valley set a goal of connecting all urban areas of the Roanoke River Greenway by the end of 2013.  So far, a majority of that is done, with just one four mile chunk left to go that would connect Roanoke to Salem.

Problem is, organizers are $3.4 million dollars short and it's time to ask the public to join in on the fundraising.

Liz Belcher is the Greenway Coordinator and says the campaign, which began in January, has already raised $3.6 million dollars primarily through corporate sponsors.  But it just isn't enough.

"We're opening the campaign to the public and saying, 'You love the greenway, put your money where your heart is and let's get this finished in the next three years," said Belcher.

The completion of the urban part of the trail is important for all the localities involved.  Organizers are excited for the business that is expected to follow.

But more than anything, they are excited about the polished 18 mile gem the Roanoke Valley will eventually be able to offer and they think folks in Lynchburg will be interested too.

"I see a lot of folks from Roanoke going to the Lynchburg greenway to get a different experience. Somewhat similar but in a lot of ways different. So having that contrast is good for both of us," said Landon Howard, Executive Director of the Roanoke Valley Convention and Visitors and Bureau.

The goal is to raise the entire seven million dollars by the end June, which will give construction crews the time they need to get the project done on time by the end of next year.

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