Friday, November 1, 2013

A Plan To Build Housing in Wasena Park?

(Update: Since we posed this question early this afternoon, both WEBJ7 and the local daily have put reporters on the story. They report that Developer Lucas Thornton is in the very early stages of looking at the area for possible housing development. WDBJ says, "Thornton envisions [possibly] putting [up] bungalow-like urban living space in that area. But, as a Roanoke native, he says his plans don't involve changing the natural landscape. "We are interested in the parking lot that adjoins those two blocks but in no way the park. We have no desire do to anything that would negatively or detrimentally impact the Wasena Park. We think it's a huge amenity in the neighborhood and the city." The photo above adjoins the parking lot to the right.)

I was stopped in Wasena Park a little while ago by a woman I have known for some time. She lives at the edge of the park, fronting it, and she had an urgent look on her face when she approached me. She handed me a flyer that said "SAVE WASENA PARK from Developer Lucas L. Thornton of Hist-Ree Partners LLC."

Seems she went to a community meeting earlier this week where she says Thornton, a young developer with an impeccable reputation (often compared to Ed Walker), spoke of his desire to put up rental housing on the lots behind softball fields near Wasena Bridge. That is across the street from my pal's house and she's pretty upset.

I have not been able to get any details on this and I invite anybody who knows more than I do to share what they know. If the intent is to put up multi-story, multi-family housing in a busy public park that has a greenway and a river running through it, then I'd love to hear the justification. If this is baseless or has a good explanation, I'd like to hear that, too.

Walker has actually renovated the Ice House, an old warehouse very near this park, but that building was vacant and it does not abut the park. It is across the river and is completely non-intrusive. Housing the ballfields would eliminate the fields and present all kinds of other problems for those wanting to enjoy the park.

As it stands, we know a little about the real intent here and that's a dangerous situation. The flyer concluded: "Our park is not for sale." Let's see if it is.


  1. I'm interested in getting in touch with the people handing out these flier cause I'd like to help keep the park there. Is there any facebook or website that folks are using to organize around this?

  2. Dayna sets up on Roanoke City Market as a vendor on Saturdays. She sells stained glass. She is a leader.