The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 13

STREETS OF ROANOKE

horses, and every living thing joined in the stampede," reported
a correspondent for the Virginian newspaper.
In more recent times, Main Street was the scene of a gun battle
between police and a man-and-wife team of bank robbers that held
up the Farmers National Bank on May 19, 1970. The 58-year-old
man and 70-year-old woman were both wounded and the $1,600
in stolen bills quickly recovered.

Main Street plays a prominent role in the civic life of Salem. Olde
Salem Days attracts thousands of visitors and vendors on the second Saturday of September. Artists, crafters, musicians, an antique
car show, food court and children's activities in Library Square mix
with the existing offerings along Main Street to provide one of the
Roanoke Valley's premier family events. Co-sponsored by the City
of Salem, Olde Salem Days is a fund-raising event for the Salem
Rotary Club. In 2016, the club was able to return $50,000 to the
community in grants to local charitable organizations from the
monies raised that year.
Beyond street festivals, Main Street downtown communicates the
character of Salem. This critical element has made Main Street and
the broader area considered by Salem as downtown to become the
focus of intense interest and future planning. In the fall of 2014,
city leaders, both elected and appointed, launched a formal design
process to renew Main Street downtown. In January 2015, city officials hosted a public open house to present preliminary concepts and
receive feedback. Over 100 citizens attended. Simultaneous to the
open house, Salem launched a website dedicated to the redesign initiative, mailed out a downtown retail survey (1,152 responded), and
released a schedule of follow-up meetings to engage stakeholders.
After several months, a steering committee narrowed the input
into broad themes for improving downtown. Among the more
specific recommendations were luring a hotel downtown, developing a night life attractive to younger adults, outdoor dining,
Main Street façade grants, crafting a more historic look for Main
Street (brick sidewalks, vintage signage and street lamps), enhancing green space and tree canopies, linking to the valley's greenway
system, encouraging downtown living and improving parking and
accessibility. In short, Salem's downtown needed its own "look"
according to participants; a defined sense of place and community.
Since the launch of the downtown plan, much has happened.
The 1928-era West Body Shop on Main Street has been acquired
by local developer Ed Walker and his partners with the goal of
converting the structure into retail and residential use that would
represent a $2 million investment. The City of Salem has also
awarded its first façade grants to businesses fronting Main Street
to create a more improved, historic feel.

COURTESY SALEM MUSEUM

SIGNIFICANCE

The 1910 former courthouse is now owned by Roanoke College.

The plan has not come without controversy. Talk of possibly
relocating the farmers market has created a stir, and some feel city
leaders may move too fast in embracing changes that might not
prove beneficial or cost effective.

WHAT HAPPENED
The renewed focus on downtown and Main Street specifically was
the result of vacant storefronts and empty buildings that spiked in
the late 2000s. Long-time retailers either closed or relocated, and
Main Street began to have a sense of abandonment.
Frustrating to Salem officials, reasons for the departures were
often beyond their control, such as high rents. While the Roanoke
Valley has vibrant commercial villages with unique identities and
night life (Grandin Road, Roanoke City Market, Daleville Town
Center), downtown-plan participants noted that Salem does not;
yet elements are present for such to exist. Main Street is within a
few blocks of the Roanoke College campus with over 1,000 residential students. There is green space-Longwood Park, Younger
Park, and Lake Spring Park-and other public amenities such as
the farmers market and library.
The vision is that these and other existing assets can be leveraged
to create more festivals and special events, a "downtown brand,"
residential living, and a more eclectic mix of retail, restaurants,
and small businesses.
The Downtown Plan, adopted by Salem City Council last year,
describes Main Street and the area it anchors as "the heart of Salem"
and its renewal and development as critical to the city's future identity. Thus, the hope is that Main Street will continue to function
in much the same way it did a century ago.
-NELSON HARRIS

THEROANOKER.COM

JULY/AUGUST 2017 | 13


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Roanoker - July/August 2017

The Roanoker July/August 2017 Table of Contents
Worth a Click
From the Editor
Lunch With . . .
Streets of Roanoke
The Gist
Events
Top Doctors 2017
Profiles in Medical Excellence (special section)
The Changing Face of Roanoke Dentistry
Amy Trail: A Journey of Education
Roanoke Valley Education: A March Forward
The Two-Wheeled Shepherd
Vinton: Great Little Town (special section)
The Stunning Mangus Home
The Strange Lure of Softball
Dining: Red Jasmine and Fork in the Alley
The Dish
NEW! Then & Now
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - Intro
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - Cover1
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - Cover2
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 3
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - The Roanoker July/August 2017 Table of Contents
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 5
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 6
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 7
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - Worth a Click
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 9
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - From the Editor
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - Lunch With . . .
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - Streets of Roanoke
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 13
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - The Gist
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 15
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - Events
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 17
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 18
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - Top Doctors 2017
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 20
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 21
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 22
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 23
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 24
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 25
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 26
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 27
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 28
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 29
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 30
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 31
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 32
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 33
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 34
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 35
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 36
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 37
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - Profiles in Medical Excellence (special section)
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 39
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 40
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 41
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 42
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 43
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 44
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 45
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 46
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 47
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 48
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 49
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 50
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 51
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 52
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 53
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - The Changing Face of Roanoke Dentistry
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 55
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 56
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 57
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 58
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 59
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - Amy Trail: A Journey of Education
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 61
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 62
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 63
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 64
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 65
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 66
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 67
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 68
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - Roanoke Valley Education: A March Forward
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 70
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 71
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 72
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 73
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 74
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - The Two-Wheeled Shepherd
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 76
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 77
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 78
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 79
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 80
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 81
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 82
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - Vinton: Great Little Town (special section)
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 84
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 85
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 86
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 87
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 88
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 89
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 90
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 91
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 92
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The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 96
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 97
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 98
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 99
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 100
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 101
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 102
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 103
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 104
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 105
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 106
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 107
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 108
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 109
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 110
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 111
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 112
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 113
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 114
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - The Stunning Mangus Home
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 116
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 117
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 118
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 119
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 120
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 121
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 122
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 123
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 124
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 125
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 126
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 127
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - The Strange Lure of Softball
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 129
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 130
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 131
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 132
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 133
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 134
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - Dining: Red Jasmine and Fork in the Alley
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 136
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 137
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 138
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 139
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 140
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 141
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 142
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 143
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - 144
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - The Dish
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - NEW! Then & Now
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - Cover3
The Roanoker - July/August 2017 - Cover4
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