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Gainsboro Neighborhood Plan

Meeting on Henry Street property, January 12, 2010. Download public comments

The Gainsboro neighborhood is the Roanoke Valley's oldest town. Gainesborough, as it was originally titled, is named after Major Kemp Gaines, who founded and financed the village. The Virginia and Tennessee Railroad began to pass along the tracks to the south of Gainesborough in 1852 and growth shifted to that area, giving rise to the town of Big Lick, while Gainesborough became known as Old Lick. In 1882 both towns were incorporated, creating Roanoke.

By the 1920s Gainsboro had become the center of the Roanoke Valley's African-American community. The Henry Street area, what is now 1st Street, was a thriving commercial district that served the adjacent Gainsboro community. Recently, efforts have been undertaken to revitalize "The Yard" and restore some of the architectural and cultural heritage of Henry Street and the Gainsboro neighborhood. A section of historic Gainsboro is on both the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register, and is regulated by Roanoke's H-2, Neighborhood Preservation District, zoning. The Dumas Hotel has been renovated by Total Action against Poverty (TAP) and plans are in the works to relocate the Harrison Museum of African American Culture there.

In recent years, rehabilitation of the the and the development of the and Eight Jefferson Place in former Norfolk & Western office buildings has brought a renewed vibrancy to Gainsboro. Gainsboro has been selected by City Council as a future neighborhood revitalization area. The Gainsboro Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative will focus on housing and infrastructure improvements recommended in the neighborhood plan through the City's allocation of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds. The project is set to start in the 2004-2005 fiscal year.

Download the entire Gainsboro Neighborhood Plan (1.59 MB, will be very slow with dial-up modems.)

To download individual chapters of the plan click on the links below:
Community Design
Residential Development
Economic Development
Public Services
Quality of Life
Implementation and Acknowledgements