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City Catalogs Parkland, Looks for More

Rupert Cutler points out new parkland in Roanoke.
Rupert Cutler points out new parkland in Roanoke.

One thing Rupert Cutler wanted to see when he returned to Roanoke City Council: the environmentalist wanted to see the Parks and Recreation department identify and catalog all of the green spaces in the city that could be considered as park land. That’s been done, and now Cutler is looking ahead to other amenities and an expansion in the city. He made the announcement at the Mill Mountain Discovery Center earlier this week.

An amendment adopted by Council in 2005 sought to define what is parkland. “I didn’t see much action [back then], “ recalled Cutler, “[and] I wanted to see a map. The results were worth fighting for.”

Cutler spent much of a half hour news conference pointing to various green spaces in the city on a map, talking about the extension of the Tinker Creek Greenway and Carvins Cove, what he termed, “the second largest city park in the whole state.” The second half of a 12,000-acre conservation easement at the reservoir could happen soon, said Cutler.

Cutler also said the former Victory Stadium site will become “a world class city park,” once the National Guard Armory is razed, along with several other buildings along Reserve Avenue.  Other recent highlights: Mill Mountain park gained 57 acres; 24 acres associated with the Lick Run greenway were added and 18 acres have been set aside for a Garden City Greenway in east Roanoke City.

Cutler also pointed out that the city has made a 10-year, $2 million commitment to funding greenway acreage, in part using VDOT funds and federal flood money.

The local arts community will design signposts for downtown that will signify the beginnings of both the Mill Mountain and Lick Run greenways, what Cutler called “milepost 0.0 for both those greenways.”

There is now about 2,045 acres of parkland in Roanoke City, up from 1,792 in 2005 – prior to the amendment.

“The additional acres represent an area of approximately 195 football fields,” Cutler pointed out.  Roanoke City was “demonstrating its commitment to the future parklands,” by cataloging them, said Cutler, and “its understanding of what makes Roanoke a great place to live.”

By Gene Marrano
[email protected]

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