The newest section of the Roanoke Valley Greenways system held its grand opening in Vinton with an official ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Glade Creek Greenway on July 11. Construction on this part of the greenway began in September 2016 and was finalized at the end of June.
Vinton Councilwoman Janet Scheid, who represents Vinton on the Greenway Commission along with her husband Bud LaRoche and Vice Mayor Matt Hare, thanked a host of contributors who made this Phase 1 of the Glade Creek Greenway possible— most importantly Anita McMillan, Director of Planning and Zoning for the Town of Vinton, who Scheid said “made the greenway happen.”
Scheid described the new ADA-accessible bicycle/pedestrian trail/greenway as 10 feet wide and paved for almost 2,000 linear feet stretching from Virginia/Dale Avenue to Walnut Avenue. Phase 1 will be followed by Phase 2, which will connect Walnut to Gus Nicks Boulevard extending about 3,060 linear feet. It will run beside the river at the foot of the old William Byrd High School property, which is being developed into upscale apartments.
There is a Phase 3 planned as well, which will reach from Gus Nicks Boulevard to Vinyard Park.
Scheid thanked VDOT for its contribution of $131,000 to the project, Novozymes for funding, Precision Fabrics Group (PFG) for a donation of right-of-way property, and Roanoke County, which partnered with the town to bring the project to fruition.
She recognized Vinton Public Works Department personnel for their hard work throughout the process, contractor Matt Combs with Combs Land Solutions, LLC DBA Summit Contracting, and WW Associates, engineers for the project.
Vinton Mayor Brad Grose emphasized the partnerships in the entire valley that formed to create this “great amenity,” and an enhanced quality of life when the entire region is tied together.
Town Manager Barry Thompson called the Glade Creek Greenway completion “another milestone in the Town of Vinton; an attractive, safe, and accessible corridor connecting people and places.” He reminded the crowd that Vinton now has three Greenways—Wolf Creek, the Gladetown Trail, and Glade Creek Phase 1. He thanked McMillan and her staff for their efforts. He also thanked PFG for its generosity in donating the property.
Roanoke County Supervisor Jason Peters said he was proud to be a part of the partnership between Roanoke County and Vinton in “growing the greenway network which benefits all of the citizens across the valley.”
PFG Plant Manager Mike Maust said that PFG was “thrilled to be part of this project.” The company donated 0.4 acres with a value of $15,000 to the Glade Creek project. PFG is “proud to be part of the ongoing growth of the community of Vinton which has served us so well for many years.”
Liz Belcher, Coordinator of the Roanoke Valley Greenway Commission, asked guests to consider the “big picture” of what is yet to come with the Roanoke Valley Greenways. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Greenway Committee and the volunteer Pathfinders group, established in 1997. However, work began on the greenway vision with a steering committee composed of McMillan, Mayor Grose, and former Roanoke County Planning Commissioner Don Witt, years before that.
Belcher also reminded those in attendance that even beyond Phases 1, 2, and 3, there is a Phase 4 in the distant future connecting Vinyard Park to the Blue Ridge Parkway. The goal is a continuous system of trails extending from Green Hill Park in Salem to Explore Park.
She, too, commended McMillan for her role in the development of the greenways in Vinton by advocating for a share of Novozymes funding which, to that point, had gone to Roanoke City, Salem, and Roanoke County. McMillan insisted that Vinton could be part of the “Roanoke River” Greenway system via Glade Creek and Tinker Creek, which connect to the Roanoke River. The Glade Creek Greenway provides the town residents a connection to the existing City of Roanoke Tinker Creek Greenway that leads to the Roanoke River Greenway (Roanoke Valley Regional Greenway System). Although the greenway runs along both Glade Creek and Tinker Creek, it was named the Glade Creek Greenway.
Belcher thanked Vinton Town Council for having the foresight and courage in times of tight budgets to “put capital into the greenway projects.”
McMillan in turn thanked William “Bo” Herndon with the Public Works Department, Liz Belcher, staff Julie Tucei and Karla Turman, and Town Council, Barry Thompson, and Assistant Town Manager Pete Peters.
According to McMillan, the first funding for Phase 1 was applied for in November 2012 from VDOT for Fiscal Year 2013-2014 with an estimated project cost of $162,000.
“Based on a community meeting for comments, due to safety issues crossing Virginia Avenue, the greenway had to be located under the Dale Avenue Bridge which led to additional funding needed, leading to a final estimated project cost of $262,000,” said McMillan. The City of Roanoke allowed the town to put the greenway under their Dale Avenue Bridge.
Funding for Phase 1 was provided by VDOT Revenue Sharing Grant Funds in the amount of $131,000 with matching funds from Novozymes Biologicals Inc., the Town of Vinton, Pathfinders for the Greenways, Roanoke County EDA/Corridor Funds, and the Roanoke Valley Greenway Commission, and the right-of-way donation from PFG.
Construction got underway in September 2016. The upcoming Phase 2 of the Glade Creek Greenway, which McMillan hopes will begin in fall 2018, is to be funded through the VDOT Map-21 Transportation Alternatives funds program and town funds. The request for proposal (RFP) for engineering services on Phase 2 was due on July 12.