Vision 2001-2020 Implementation Report

Have we realized the vision?

In many ways, Roanoke has become the city envisioned back then.  Following decades of stagnation through the 80s and 90s, we are now a growing, dynamic place, and we seem sustainable if we continue to adapt.  We have a strong, diverse economy, no longer dependent on a single rail industry. Our quality of life, our neighborhoods, and our easy access to outdoor life attract new residents and new businesses from all over.

If there was a central theme of Vision 2001-2020, it was to “be a city.”  Focus on developing places and quality of life; economic health and growth will follow.  The City Design theme recommended we pay close attention to urban design and restore our fabric of historic buildings.

Top accomplishments since 2001:

  • Transformed the South Jefferson Redevelopment Area into a major economic activity center for the region.
  • Expanded and designated historic districts to drive rehabilitation of historic buildings in downtown.  1,000 residential units were created in downtown.
  • Completed a neighborhood/area plan for every area of the city.
  • Adopted new land development codes to implement policies related to land use, urban form, site design, building form, street design, and water quality.
  • Constructed a network of greenways along the Roanoke River, Lick Run, and Tinker Creek and to the top of Mill Mountain.  Developed unpaved trail systems at Carvins Cove, Mill Mountain, and Fishburn/Woodlawn Park.
  • Adopted a Complete Streets Policy and Street Design Guidelines and retrofitted miles of streets to make them more pedestrian and bike friendly.
  • Targeted CDBG funds into a single neighborhood to create more impact.  Between 2001 and 2018, we had five target areas:  Belmont, Gainsboro, Hurt Park, West End, and Melrose-Orange.
  • Updated or reconstructed public facilities, including our network of Fire/EMS stations, our libraries, our schools, and replaced Victory Stadium with stadiums at each high school.
  • Facilitated strategic downtown projects such as the Market Building, Market Square, and the Elmwood Park Amphitheater, Campbell parking garage, Market Garage Hotel, and the Civic Center Exhibition Hall.
  • Enabled future housing development at Countryside and Colonial Green.

Report Card on Actions

For each of the 10 years that followed adoption of Vision 2001-2020, planning staff developed a report on the action items of the plan. By 2011, an impressive amount of the actions had been completed. Some ideas, however, were never pursued. Following is a listing of all the recommended actions of the plan with all the corresponding activity.