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Economic Development Strategic Plan and Neighborhood Centers Plan Adopted

On December 19, 2022, Roanoke City Council unanimously voted to adopt both the Neighborhood Centers Plan and Roanoke Opportunities in Action: Economic Development Strategic Plan.

In April 2022, the City of Roanoke Department of Economic Development, in partnership with Economic Development Authority, engaged with Ernst Young LLP to assist with creating a new five-year strategic plan.

The ROA Strategic Plan builds upon previous work and performance, while providing direction toward a more inclusive and equitable economy and community. It provides implementation strategies for business recruitment, retention, and expansion as well as highlighting innovation, community development and financial empowerment in the City of Roanoke.

“This plan encapsulates the Department of Economic Development’s goals and ambitions, providing a roadmap to help us to improve in the areas that have traditionally been a part of our portfolio while also helping us better account for those newer, aspirational efforts that will help us provide opportunities to everyone in our city,” states Nelson.

Neighborhood centers are urban corridors that can provide services of a social, cultural, or economic nature to the neighborhood in which it is located. For decades, the City of Roanoke has promoted neighborhood centers as important nodes in their network of economic activity.

After conducting an analysis of three mature, successful neighborhood centers and examining a variety of corridors, four areas were chosen from dozens of potential centers to serve as testbeds for revitalization: 11th Street NW, West End, Melrose at 24th Street, and 9th Street SE. This selection was based on a high potential for success, considering activity drivers like traffic, residential density, and amenities like parks.

In some instances, key recommendations for these centers have already been completed or are underway; including completed streetscaping in the Melrose-Orange Target Area, the addition of a grocery store that will be located at the future Melrose Plaza, and the City’s current revitalization efforts in the Belmont Fallon Target Area in Southeast.

“The Neighborhood Centers Plan will serve as a guidebook for the City and our valuable partners to strengthen the community fabric and enhance economic vitality in four foundational neighborhoods via resident input, deployment of proven planning principles, and lessons learned in redevelopment efforts undertaken in other parts of the City,” adds Marc Nelson, Director of Economic Development for the City of Roanoke.

The adoption of the Neighborhood Centers Plan serves to further the objectives of the City’s Comprehensive Plan by enhancing the physical environment, providing for and attracting business and development opportunities to support area residents, and reinvigorating neighborhoods as well as the surrounding local economy.

More information about the ROA Strategic Plan can be found at:

More information can be found at:


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