All Blog

Find out what's happening in the blog. Below is a list of blog items.

Feb 20

Bridging Past and Present with the Future – Main Street Wasena

Posted to City Manager's Blog by Carol Corbin

More than 85 years ago, work began on a new bridge connecting the Wasena and Old Southwest neighborhoods, replacing a previous bridge that had begun to fail.  This new bridge followed the just completed Franklin Road Bridge and three bridges completed a decade prior – Jefferson, Walnut, and Memorial and was accompanied by construction of a new road up in the mountains – the Blue Ridge Parkway. More than $336,000 was necessary to complete the Main Street Bridge, funds the City did not have as it, like the rest of the Nation, found itself mired in the Great Depression. Fortunately, just as had been the case with the Franklin Road Bridge, the Federal Government through the Federal Emergency Administration and its Public Works Administration program came through with more than half the necessary funding.  Since that time, for all those years, the Main Street Bridge has served our community well.

 Wasena VA Room

A New Bridge

This week we begin to prepare for construction of the much-needed replacement of the Main Street Bridge.  As was the case 85 years ago, this bridge retains a vital link between neighborhoods and downtown. Just as was the case all those years ago, the City found itself in need of support to fund the nearly $50 million project.  This time it is the Virginia Department of Transportation providing the help – nearly $10 million in funding. The new bridge will continue to carry autos, trucks, and buses and will allow safer movement of pedestrians and bicyclists offering connections to adjacent greenways, parks and neighborhood centers.  All of this will be delivered via a state-of-the-art bridge showcasing the beauty of the surrounding mountains and the Roanoke River.  

Wasena Bridge Photo from the Virginia Room 

Local Government at Work

Projects such as these are the mainstay of local government - people coming together via their elected representatives using revenue from tax dollars to build critical infrastructure.   Elected officials are supported in their efforts by a dedicated staff of administrators, engineers, planners, and other professionals – each contributing mightily to the effort.  Private designers and contractors will see to it that the vision established in collaboration with the surrounding residents and businesses and those that use the bridge, becomes reality.   

One of Many Improvements

A good deal of inconvenience will accompany the construction anticipated to last nearly two years. We should all do we can to patronize businesses located in the Wasena area.  When it is all said and done, we will have a new attractive bridge enabling multiple modes of travel that will last for decades. Alongside this new bridge there will also be a new roundabout, new skatepark, and just upriver, a new kayak park, all alongside already amazing parks, greenways, and the neighborhoods of Wasena, Old Southwest, and Mountain View.

Just like 85 years ago – these are exciting times for the Star City!

-- Bob Cowell

Jan 25

Roanoke Recap January 25, 2023

Posted to Roanoke Recap by Carol Corbin

Collaboration to Transform Southeast Roanoke Property into Riverdale District Announced

The City of Roanoke, the Roanoke Economic Development Authority, and local developer, Ed Walker, are collaborating and co-investing on a transformation of the former American Viscose Plant in Southeast Roanoke. Over the next several years, the collaboration will preserve elements of its industrial heritage while gradually transforming parts of the former industrial site into Riverdale, a 75+ acre mixed-use district featuring industrial spaces, residences, commercial uses, artist studios, maker spaces and manufacturing. Riverdale will be fully integrated into adjacent natural and recreation areas including the Greenway, Roanoke River, and Mill Mountain.


The agreement that establishes the collaborative investment was approved at the January 17 City Council meeting and includes a $10 million forgivable performance loan facilitating property acquisition, addressing immediate environmental and master-planning needs, and removal of debris currently on the site. This agreement requires and catalyzes at least $50 million of private investment and development. An economic study prepared by Chmura Economics indicates that the first phase alone could generate more than $300 million in economic impact, supporting 2,000 jobs in the process.

Vote for the Roanoke River for Best Urban Kayaking Spot 2023

The Roanoke River is one of the nominees for Best Urban Kayaking Spot for 2023 for the USA TODAY 10Best contest! Voting is open, and you can vote daily through February 6.

We are in the chase for the top spot, but we need your help. Make sure you click the link and vote for the Roanoke River today.

Let's help the Roanoke River win this award for the 2nd consecutive year!


river kayak

Swift Water Rescue Training

Check out what some of our swift water team has been up to lately! These B-shifters spent their off-duty day on the James River at Balcony Falls honing their skills in paddle craft operations. ??

swift water rescue

Thanks Capt. Robert Reid, Lt. Nick Sosik, Lt. Jonathan Metro, FF Daniel Driver, FF Kalin Conn, and FF Thomas Schacter for getting out there and getting it done, despite the frigid temps! ??

City of Roanoke Awarded Funds for the Virginia Business Ready Sites Program

Exciting news from Governor Glenn Youngkin's office! ??

It was announced on January 16, that the City of Roanoke was awarded funds for the Virginia Business Ready Sites Program. These funds will further develop Tract 8 located in the Roanoke Centre for Industry and Technology (RCIT).

Learn more about this announcement and Virginia Business Ready Sites Program at