Botetourt County residents interested in the prospects of expanding the Roanoke Valley Greenway into the county are being encouraged to attend an open house-style community meeting for the draft 2018 Greenway Plan Update at the Berglund Center on April 19 from 4-7 p.m.

The Greenway Commission is hosting the open house.

The purpose of the meeting is to provide an opportunity for citizens to review and comment on the draft regional greenway plan and maps, including the Tinker Creek Greenway Concept Plan.

The greenway plan was last updated in 2007. Since 2007, over 200 miles of greenways and trails have been added to the network and Botetourt County has joined the Greenway Commission.

The Greenway Commission includes the Cities of Roanoke and Salem, the Town of Vinton, and the Counties of Roanoke and Botetourt. The Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission is assisting with this plan update.

The draft plan and maps will be posted by April 13 at

HYPERLINK “http://www.greenways.org”

www.greenways.org

In October 2015, Botetourt County was awarded $475,000 Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) MAP-21 Transportation Alternative Program matching grant to be used to build a greenway between Daleville Town Center and the trails at Botetourt Center at Greenfield.

The county committed $120,000 in matching or in-kind assistance as part of the grant award.

The supervisors had hoped the design work and construction would be done by last fall, but acquiring an agreeable route through residential neighborhoods has evaded the Greenway Commission.

The Botetourt supervisors voted in March 2016 that the total contract for design and construction would not exceed $595,438. The grant is supposed to be spent by October 2019.

At a meeting last year, the Greenway Commission proposed possible routes that included one along US 220 between Daleville Town Center and Greenfield Education and Training Center, one through part of The Glebe property with a connection that would have to go through Orchard Lake or Fairview subdivisions, or across larger private parcels to connect with the US 220 route.

“In the 2007 Greenway Plan, the Roanoke River Greenway was designated as the No. 1 priority,” said Greenway Coordinator Liz Belcher. “At the 2017 public input meetings, we heard strong support for finishing the Roanoke River Greenway. We also heard a demand for more connectivity, so that users can get from one greenway to another. This connectivity can be accomplished by finishing the priority greenways and providing on-road pedestrian and bicycle connections to fill gaps between routes.

“Greenways are important to our quality of life, our economic development, and the social fabric of our communities,” Belcher added.

According to Belcher, the effort to initiate a greenway program began in 1993 when Roanoke Valley citizens of the non-profit Valley Beautiful Foundation in Roanoke became interested in projects they had seen in other states. That finally led to the formation of the Greenway Commission.

As part of their responsibilities, the Greenway Commission members are required to periodically revise a greenway plan for the Roanoke Valley.

Voting members of the Greenway Commission include participants from each government involved, a representative from the Metropolitan Planning Organization, and one from Pathfinders for Greenways. Other non-voting members include one representative each from the Blue Ridge Land Conservancy, the Western Virginia Water Authority, and the Roanoke Valley Alleghany Regional Commission, as well as members from other interested organizations.

Botetourt County voting members include Warren Clark, Tim Miller and Katie Conner.

The Commission meets on the fourth Wednesday of most months at 4 p.m. in the Commission office at 1206 Kessler Mill Road in Salem. Meetings of the commission and its committees are open to the public. Meetings and other events are posted on the Roanoke Valley Greenways web site http://greenways.org.

. The annual Gallop for the Greenways fundraiser is May 11 and 12. This is an annual event to support the growing network of pedestrian and bicycle trails. Home base is at the River’s Edge Sports Complex in Roanoke. There will be post-race festivities including presentation of awards, music, food and beverages proper for adults and children.

The King and Queen of the Greenway One Miler gets under way on Friday, May 11 at 6 p.m. On Saturday, May 12, there is a free Kids Fun Run of about 4/10th of a mile at 5 p.m. (parents are invited to run with their children), along with the 5K Gallop for the Greenways run and a 1.5-mile walk at 5 p.m.

Register for the events at www.Gallop4theGreenways.com.