Architects share development ideas for Melrose-Orange Target Area

Leaders in the city of Roanoke are working on plans to improve one neighborhood's safety and character.

More than a year of planning and brainstorming has led to a proposal from the Emerging Leaders in Architecture, presented at a community meeting Monday night in Roanoke.

"Working with the community and trying to figure out what are some solutions to some of the challenges here," said architectural designer Michael Spory.

The leaders got feedback from the community for this area over the past several months.

The city has chosen to put federal entitlement funds into this area in particular.

"One of the main things we're addressing tonight is connectivity, we've noticed that a lot of the challenges are related to how the local area is really designed for cars in mind," said Spory.

The focus is on pedestrians - how to get cars to slow down for them and how to connect the neighborhoods through design.

The concept is titled 'Restart Roanoke.' It largely includes public art installations, especially in the crosswalk designs.

Joseph Moses is a business owner in this area with a lot of elderly customers. He attended the meeting says speeding has been a huge issue.

"Traffic speeds down Melrose," said Moses. "Cars won't slow down and let them by and even if they go out into the street, the cars go around them."

The architects hope their public art concepts will influence drivers to slow down.

Leaders in the community think it just might work.

"I think it's a good start and hopefully, the ideas that they brought will help the community come together and start working and brainstorming and decide what kind of ideas are we going to put out there together to make this thing work," said Peacemakers founder Shawn Hunter.

If you're interested in being a part of this conversation, the Roanoke Department of Planning, Building, and Development will hold another public meeting on it in November.


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