Mobile Tours

The 2017 Annual Conference offers a unique opportunity to explore downtown Roanoke and the surrounding communities. The Roanoke Valley is a living, breathing example of best practices in planning theory and practice. Register for one or more mobile tours, space is limited.

Note: All mobile tours will depart and return to the Hotel Roanoke. Participants should plan to arrive 15-minutes before tour departure.

Sunday Afternoon (1PM to 5PM)

Roanoke River Blueway River Trip

Join Roanoke County staff and paddle the Roanoke River Blueway from the Blue Ridge Parkway (Milepost 115) to Explore Park. This 3-mile trip includes Class 1 and 2 rapids and spectacular views of the Roanoke River Gorge. Learn about how the Roanoke River Blueway is a recreational and economic development asset, and how planning and conservation are critical to its continued success. Roanoke County staff will provide a shuttle from Hotel Roanoke to the Blue Ridge Parkway along with canoes, life jackets, paddles, and guides for the trip. Please plan to wear weather and activity appropriate clothing. Roanoke County reserves the right to cancel this trip due to inclement weather.

Cost – $20

Tour limited to 16 persons

Explore Roanoke’s Village Centers

Many of Roanoke’s traditional neighborhoods developed as “villages”, self-contained centers that provide opportunities for people to live, work, shop, play, and interact in a local setting. Village centers offer amenities typically not found in suburban areas, such as convenient access to schools, local shops, and places of employment. Village centers contain retail, entertainment venues, and office space that contribute to the health of Roanoke. These village centers have been reinforced within the City’s Comprehensive Plan as a way to maintain vibrant, walkable neighborhoods.

Join City of Roanoke staff and explore Grandin Village, Crystal Spring, and the newly revitalized Wasena village center. Planners will hear about historic preservation, encouraging small business development, a Co-Op Grocery, co-work space, and adaptive reuse. Planners will learn the importance of setting the stage for these centers through zoning and infrastructure improvements.

Cost – $10

Tour is limited to 30 persons

Community Planning Assistance Team (CPAT): Boones Mill - Appalachian Gateway

Lend your expertise to a local community in the Roanoke Valley. Participants offer their time and expertise to people and places where additional resources are needed. The Town of Boones Mill presents a distinctive opportunity for Community Planning Assistance Team (CPAT) volunteers. The 2017 CPAT project will offer planners opportunity to study small town revitalization in terms of land use, community facilities, and the practical partnerships needed for progress in an environment of severely limited resources. Planners will provide real-world expertise, visioning, and strategic planning that will greatly benefit future planning efforts in the Town of Boones Mill. CPAT includes a tour of the Town, visioning exercise with local leaders and citizens, small group goal setting and reporting out findings at Hammer & Forge Brewing Company.

About Boones Mill: The Town has a population of about 250 residents, and a total area less than one square mile, but a daily traffic count over 25,000 that passes through Town along US 220 from Roanoke, VA to Greensboro, NC. Development from Roanoke metro-area brings new opportunities to this Appalachian gateway village, but the Town is still struggling with the effects of the 2008 closure of the modular housing plant which was the only large employer.

Cost - FREE

Tour is limited to 20 persons

Brownfields, Breweries and Economic Development Explore the growth of an industry and discuss its economic impact. We will meet at a local microbrewery and discuss the growth of the beer industry in the region. We will discuss how we were able to market both the quality of our water, location, and our unique sense of place to lure Deschutes Brewery and Ballast Point. We will hear from a panel of local microbrewers on the importance of developing a cluster to promote tourism. Finally, we will hear from a developer that through several different projects is revitalizing an area on the edge of downtown with housing, restaurants, and a local microbrewery.

Planners will learn about how Brownfield sites can be reutilized to encourage redevelopment and economic development. A primary topic will be the importance of place-making in economic development. Discussions with local brewers will give insight into this growing industry and a developer will discuss his vision for revitalizing a long neglected area.

Cost – $10

Tour is limited to 30 persons

Monday Afternoon (1pm to 3:30PM)

Trains to Brains: Exploring Roanoke's South Jefferson Redevelopment Area

Roanoke’s South Jefferson Redevelopment Area was conceived as a cutting edge bio health research park for the area’s nonprofit healthcare provider (Carilion Clinic) when the South Jefferson Redevelopment Plan was adopted by City Council in 2001. Thanks to tremendous public/private partnerships and a development team out of Richmond, the district has exceeded expectations and continues to grow. The creation of the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute in 2007 led to new synergies in the health care arena for us to capitalize upon, as well as the subsequent mixed use development of “The Bridges.” By way of Roanoke’s public trolley bus, this tour provides an overview of how Roanoke City planners and officials partnered with the Roanoke Redevelopment and Housing Authority and leveraged the redevelopment plan and EPA Brownfields Grant Funding to transform this blighted railroad era industrial area into a vibrant, thriving new neighborhood. The tour also highlights the new economy of the City and the groundbreaking work of VTC, which includes neuro, cancer and cardiac research, attracting talent from across the globe. The tour concludes at the up and coming Starr Hill Brewery Small Batch Taproom where you’ll see firsthand the energy of this new neighborhood and biohealth facilities.

Cost - $10

Tour is limited to 20 persons

Tuesday Afternoon (2PM to 5PM)

Local Food Initiatives Role in Neighborhood Revitalization

What role do local food initiatives play in neighborhood revitalization? This 1-1/2 mile walking tour examines one of the many neighborhoods in Roanoke experiencing focused revitalization. Beginning at the historic Fishburn Mansion in Roanoke's West End Target Area, we will travel through areas of new and newly renovated housing, areas of commercial reinvestment, areas of streetscape improvements, and areas focused on food. Along the way, we will meet with neighborhood residents, housing developers, commercial investors, and local foods advocate groups to hear how the changes grew out of an agreement among several different groups to focus their specialty in one area for a period of time.

Cost - $10

Tour is limited to 25 persons

Where the Sidewalk Ends: A Hands-On Mobility Fieldtrip and Scavenger Hunt

How easy would it be to get around your community without a car? This field project will explore how people in your community access services, recreation, employment, and civic resources without access to a motor vehicle. Participants will be assigned to one of six teams that will explore Roanoke in a scavenger-hunt style activity, with each team assigned goals based on the needs of a fictional character. How easy is it to visit the doctor if you are pushing a stroller? How does an elderly citizen access necessary services when she can no longer drive? How can a carless job-hunter access employment? Participants will learn how everything from infrastructure to access to information can enable or limit a citizen’s mobility. After the field trip, participants will have a chance to meet and discuss their experience with the rest of the group.

Cost $10

Tour is limited to 25 persons

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