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Sunday, June 2, 2013
Last month, Center in the Square revealed its newly improved cultural arts space on the corner of Market Street and Campbell Avenue. The construction’s completion marks the beginning of several encouraging downtown developments occurring in the near future.
The new Roanoke Natural Foods Co-op satellite marketplace recently opened, too, and plans to construct a new hotel are under way, with both projects located along the central axis of Market Street. With these valuable changes taking place, it is undeniable how crucial the core of downtown is becoming for visitors, tourists and for Roanoke’s residents.
For this reason, A Partnership for a Better Downtown Roanoke began to design complementary improvements to the Market Square last year. The design improves upon the existing infrastructure (composed of several crowded parking spaces) by restoring the space to its historic use as both a marketplace and a pedestrian square, thus creating a keystone element to the urban design of the downtown core.
Today, nearly 35 percent of the city’s land downtown is dedicated to parking, with less than 5 percent committed to parks. This plan helps to restore a balance by offering a central outdoor space, free and safe for all Roanokers to enjoy.
By returning the squares to pedestrians, Market Street will fulfill its potential as a fulcrum for activity downtown: increasing foot traffic to the surrounding shops, restaurants and farmers market stands. Additional stands will be positioned along the perimeter of the proposed park, as well as temporary stalls for use within the square on market days. Trees, benches and tables will be positioned around the space, which conveniently is already equipped with Wifi, while still allowing cars to drive through the squares to Market Street.
Over the course of last year, through numerous public sessions with vendors and retailers and design workshops, A Partnership for a Better Downtown Roanoke, along with AECOM, the city of Roanoke and Downtown Roanoke Inc., have worked together to develop a comprehensive plan for the project.
It is now up to the people of Roanoke to contribute their input. We invite any interested parties to one of our open house design forums in the coming months.
We value Roanoke residents’ thoughts and hope to collaborate with them on ways to improve upon the design. Please come out to Hist:Re Partners, located at 631 Campbell Ave., S.E. on June 20, July 9, July 23 or Aug. 1 from 4 to 6 p.m. to show your interest in and share your ideas about the future of downtown Roanoke.
Weather JournalPossible scrape with snow Tues