The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 12
FROM THE EDITOR
Carilion's Long Shadow . . . or is it Light?
Nowhere in the Roanoke Valley is change more apparent than within the
sightlines from the 14th floor of Roanoke Memorial Hospital.
Toward the Carilion Canoe Corridor
New steps lead to west bank of the Roanoke River behind Starbucks.
12 | JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017
STAND IN FRONT OF CARILION Roanoke Memore recently by the disappearance of the military
morial Hospital, get out your mental compass tool
buildings along Reserve. And of the building at
and create a mental mile-radius circle with you as the
the corner of Reserve and Franklin, obtained by
center, and start to look around.
Carilion from the city and destroyed by fire in
Well, not behind you and to the left so much,
the fall. The old Parks & Rec building is gone,
because that is pretty much all Mill Mountain and
replaced by clean new tennis courts.
In short, take yourself from the front of CarBut look ahead and to your right, and you start to
ilion Roanoke Memorial and go up to the 14th
get a sense of an area transformed over recent years.
floor. Look out and about and it is pretty much
Right there in your face is the Bridges project with
a clean, unfettered view- a blend of new conKurt Rheinheimer
Moe's Southwest Grill (opened 2016) next to the
struction and greenspace.
obligatory Starbucks (2015 ribbon-cutting), as well
Within the arc and moving out: Would Sweet
as construction on a second set of Korean-looking apartments.
Donkey have landed where it did in 2014 with no more than South
Right there behind the old Adams Payne and Gleaves building-
Roanoke as its base? Would the distinctive Athens Grill be where it
housing Moe's and Starbucks-there's a new gravel walkway to a set
is if not for the glow from the bright blue windows? (And oh, look
of steps down a newly grassed slope to the Roanoke River.
across the street as you dine there: Where's the old Jefferson ColThe sign on the kiosk-complete with slats in the back for canoes
lege of Health Sciences building? Gone, circa 2011.) Would Mellow
and kayaks-provides a hint, as if you could have missed it, of the
Mushroom have opened where it did? Not to mention the old Ukrop's
power behind the things at the center point of your mile arc: The
building next to it, now gloriously reborn as the Carilion Institute
map legend shows the "Carilion Canoe Corridor," complete with
for Orthopaedics and Neurosciences. Or the new grocer and retail
cross-hatching over the river, as if possession has been taken of that
center now in the works?
One piece of the past is visible from up on the 14th. Yes, Victory
section of the nascent Roanoke River Blueway by the giant health
Stadium's history is lost to sight, but just a little farther out, venerable
And suggesting, more broadly, some level of possession of, or at
Maher Field, where the Roanoke RoSox abandoned the Piedmont
least influence upon the rest of your arc. The Riverside 1, Riverside
League in mid-season 1953, remains, its bases still 90 feet apart, its
2 and Riverside 3 buildings, with their handsome mass only a mild
outfield wall a mild echo of the big circle of newness that surrounds it.
indicator of the huge health and economic power inside, have been
there long enough, and been touted enough to approach the seen-that
status of the brick-and-blue-glass building behind you.
It's the on-and-beyond and not-directly Carilion that draws attention and attests to the power that radiates, as if out of those 14
stories of blue windows, that makes the impression as you walk
around. Or watch the trolley arrive from downtown and then start
Things like the Virginian Station there at Jefferson and Williamson, renovation of which was completed this fall. It's as emblematic
as anyhing of the fact that things untidy have been systematically removed from the arc-beginning perhaps with the old Surfaces store
along Reserve, where now are clean open fields between the Cambria Hotel & Suites and the parking garage for the Riverside 3. And