Wednesday, April 8, 2015

City to Fill Elmwood Park Art Walk with Sculptures

Roanoke, VA - The City of Roanoke and the Roanoke Arts Commission announce a third temporary art exhibit in the Art in Roanoke (AIR) program. By late May, 10 sculptures will be in place on the new Art Walk in Elmwood Park. Addressing the theme "The Natural City," the works will be on display for 18 months.

Tom McKeon, chair of the Roanoke Arts Commission explained, "We chose the theme 'The Natural City' because respondents to the public art survey we conducted last spring told us that the spirit and
personality of Roanoke is aligned with the natural landscape. The survey results also indicated that downtown was the number one location where Roanokers wanted to see more public art."

A selection panel of citizens and city representatives reviewed 104 entries from 51 artists to narrow the show down to the following works:

• "Sustain" by Charlie Brouwer of Willis, Va.
• "Cougars and Eagles" by Robert Clements of Athens, Ga.
• "Ask the Fish 2.0" by Stephen Fairfield of St. David, Ark.
• "Descending Night" by Jack Howard-Potter of Brooklyn, N.Y.
• "Life Cycle" by Hanna Jubran of Grimesland, N.C.
• "Peak Between the Trees II" by Mark Krucke of Garner, N.C.
• "Leaf" by Dan Kuehl of Roanoke, Va.
• "Celebration" by Cecilia Lueza of Miami, Fla.
• "Rawrenok" by Anthony Heinz May of Brooklyn, N.Y.
• "Rising Puzzle" by Jacob Smith of Roanoke, Va.

"One thing that makes this exciting is that four of the sculptures have yet to be created," said Susan Jennings, the city's arts and culture coordinator. "Dan Kuehl, Cecilia Lueza, Jacob Smith, and
Anthony May will all start working on their pieces soon.  May's work will be created from trees saved from the Elmwood Park Restoration. That wood has been in storage, and we are all excited to see his plans for it."

During Festival in the Park, May 22-24, viewers will have a chance to vote on their favorite piece. The winning artist will receive a People's Choice Award and a $1,000 check. A website is being set up for voting and paper ballots will be distributed over the course of the festival.

The Public Art Program is funded by a Percent for Art ordinance, established by the city as a way to fund art to reflect its vibrancy and enliven public spaces. The funds come from one percent of certain
items within the city's annual capital improvement budget.

Monday, March 30, 2015

New Playground at Elmwood Park

ROANOKE, VA - In a collaborative effort between the City of Roanoke and Carilion Clinic, Elmwood Park will soon be home to Roanoke's first themed playground. The Carilion Clinic Children's Hospital Playground will officially open in mid-May and feature a Peter Pan narrative.  The playground is a component of the Elmwood Park Master Plan identified for sponsorship by a corporate partner.

According to Alice Ackerman, Chair and Chief Pediatric Officer, Carilion Clinic Children's Hospital, this partnership is a great way for Carilion Clinic to engage with children outside of a hospital. "Our goal is to keep children in our community healthy," said Ackerman. "There's no better way than to give them a fun place like this new playground to be active."

The construction for this unique playground is currently underway, and the opening will coincide with the 100-year anniversary of the creation of the Peter Pan story book. "We've worked with our parks and recreation design team, our library staff and employees at Carilion Clinic to create a very eye-catching and dynamic playground experience," said Steve Buschor, Director of Parks and Recreation. "This is just another wonderful addition to Elmwood Park that further establishes it as a destination location for families and visitors in the heart of Roanoke," he added.

Completely sculpted around the original Peter Pan story, this park has many vibrant and playful amenities including:

- Captain Hook's ship with a rope bridge spanning to the Peter Pan and the Lost Boys' treehouse
- historically designed treasure maps that highlight several of Roanoke's local amenities
- a sponge-like, rubberized surface that adds fall resistance and mimics the colors of the sea, beach and forest
- an expansive and custom crocodile head that breaks through the blue, ocean-like surface.

The playground will be constructed on the east side of the Main Library just up the hill from the Elmwood amphitheater. Alongside the creative input and funding provided by Carilion Clinic, Roanoke Public Libraries also had a big part in the overall vision of this new play area. "Research shows that play is important to the development of a child's early literacy skills. The new playground
supports our work to create a place in the Library and with Elmwood Park for families to be engaged and for children to have a fun learning experience," said Sheila Umberger, Director of Libraries.

As a nationally accredited agency, Roanoke Parks and Recreation strives to deliver parks, recreation facilities and activities that are attractive, accessible and provide memorable experiences that move the body, mind and emotions. For information about our best-in-class services and facilities, visit

Monday, March 2, 2015

New Fareboxes Coming to Valley Metro

Starting this month, all Valley Metro and Smart Way buses will be outfitted with new fareboxes.

"While they may be a little different to use, they promise to be more convenient," says Carl Palmer, general manager for Valley Metro.

The first new feature is the ability to swipe with a card. If you're using a weekly or monthly pass, or a transfer card, all you have to do is swipe your card and move on. Those riders using a single trip basic, discount, or school passes will simply insert their card into a slot so it can be scanned.

You can also enter cash into the fareboxes to pay for your ride. The new devices make it easier to purchase fares by oddering "transit change," meaning you no longer have to pay for your trip with exact change, but instead can apply the balance to future transit trips. As in the past, transfers between local routes are free. Upon request to the transit operator, a transit card will be issued. It will have a "use by" time stamped on the back. When you board a connecting route, just swipe the card, and you're on your way.

The installation of the fareboxes and transit change system is just the beginning. The new technology will allow the Greater Roanoke Transit Company, which operates Valley Metro, to streamline fare rates and implement new payment mediums, including Smart Cards. They hope to launch these new services later in the year.

For more information about Valley Metro and their service routes, click here.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Parking Enforcement Announcement

An announcement from the PARK Roanoke offices:

Due to the recent snow events over the past two weeks, PARK Roanoke has not been enforcing on-street timed parking.

Effective MONDAY, MARCH 2, 2015, PARK Roanoke will resume enforcing timed parking limits on city streets.  This is in addition to all other types of parking restrictions such as  Fire Lanes, Disabled Parking, No Parking, and Loading Zones etc.

Thank you for choosing off-street parking in city garages during these snow events. This has assisted downtown snow removal efforts.  PARK Roanoke offers over 4,100 off-street parking spaces including Early Bird Specials at our Campbell and Gainsboro Garages where you can  park all day for as little as  $3 with entry before 9 a.m.  For more information, please visit us at  for a map and listing of all locations or call our office at 540-343-0585

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

chocolatepaper Expanding!

Twice the space, twice the experience! Roanoke’s premier chocolate, greeting card and gift boutique plans to expand their Roanoke City Market store into the adjoining space formally occupied by Native Grace. Expansion plans include an increased selection of chocolates, greeting cards, Virginia products and unique gifts.

chocolatepaper owners - Mark Burkett and Stan McCulloch of Richmond and Matt Burkett and Melissa Palmer of Roanoke – are pleased to enhance chocolatepaper’s presence on the Roanoke City Market with exciting inventory and popular tasting events. The independent store location on Electric Road at the Shoppes at West Village will close allowing for the ability to focus energy and efforts to grow the retail, corporate and event offerings from one hub.

Committing to the vibrancy and increased tourism and local traffic of Downtown Roanoke is only natural for chocolatepaper as Mark Burkett opened his first greeting card store in the then-newly renovated Roanoke City Market Building. This successful but short venture was washed away by the Flood of 1985.

A chocolate tasting room will add to the store’s offerings for special events and tasting opportunities for retail customers as well as private special event opportunities for corporate, special occasion and bridal customers.

In recognition of chocolatepaper’s beginnings in Southwest County Roanoke and the desire to continue to service the area’s loyal customers, a new chocolatepaper concept will be unveiled at the Shoppes at West Village in a partnership with Oliveto, an artisan oil and vinegar shop and cafĂ©. The chocolatepaper boutique will offer popular case chocolates and truffles and hundreds of greeting cards. In addition, packaged chocolates and gift baskets will be available.

The Roanoke City Market store will be closed as the two spaces are combined as of Sunday, February 22nd. Work has already been completed on the expansion side. The new chocolatepaper will open February 28th and a grand opening will be scheduled in March. The last day the Electric Road store at the Shoppes at West Village will be open is Wednesday, February 18th. The chocolatepaper boutique in Oliveto will open on Monday, March 9th.

“We are thrilled to give our Roanoke City Market store the space it deserves to showcase our unique selection of chocolates, greeting cards and gifts” says owner Melissa Palmer. “We are also thrilled to have our family business in partnership with Kristi and Greg Gerhart in their family business, Oliveto, where customer service is paramount.”

Friday, January 16, 2015

Public Input Invited on Multi-Modal Station in Downtown Roanoke

Roanoke, VA - The City of Roanoke and Greater Roanoke Transit Company (Valley Metro) encourages the public to attend a public information meeting on Thursday, Jan. 29, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Greater Roanoke Transit Company, Valley Metro, Campbell Court located at 31 Campbell Ave., to provide input on the feasibility and possible location for a new Multi-Modal Train and Transit Station in downtown.

In November 2014, Governor Terry McAuliffe announced Amtrak service would be coming to the Roanoke in 2017. This service will be an extension of the current Amtrak service provided for the City of Lynchburg.  The City of Roanoke has hired a consultant to help determine the feasibility of locating a terminal station in the downtown area of the city.  Preliminary work began on the study last
November. This public meeting will be the first opportunity to hear from residents and interested citizens regarding ideas for the station location, design, and other elements.

The meeting will be a "drop in" format, with representatives from both the consultant and city on-hand to answer questions and receive comments. It is not necessary to attend the entire session and no formal presentation will be made.

For more information, contact Chris Chittum, Roanoke's director of Planning, Building, and Development, at 853-2356.

Friday, November 14, 2014

DRI and Market Building present Great Big Toy Bonanza

The City Market Building and DRI are are teaming up to present the GREAT BIG TOY BONANZA now through November 29th! This Holiday Toy Drive will benefit the Community Christmas Store of the Roanoke Valley!

Bring a NEW, UNWRAPPED toy to the City Market Building and deposit it into one of our Toy Drive Collection boxes wrapped with Holiday Paper. Fill out a donation slip and deposit with your toy, and each day we will raffle off a $20 gift card to the City Market Building from that day's donations! Donate a toy and get a chance at free lunch!

At the end of the toy drive, we will do a GRAND PRIZE raffle drawing for lunch FOR YOUR ENTIRE OFFICE from the City Market Building vendor of your choice for the Holidays! Win lunch for up to 25 people courtesy of the City Market Building and Downtown Roanoke Incorporated! Lunch will be delivered on the day of your choice before December 24.

Thanks for helping out the Community Christmas Store! The Community Christmas Store is a 100%, volunteer run 501c3 non profit that has been serving families in need in the Roanoke Valley since 1993! The Community Christmas Store serves over 500 families each holiday season by providing an entire holiday experience for qualified families, including new clothing, household items, toys for the children, and food for the entire family. Help us help families in need!