Community organizations and the city are partners in the Northwest Roanoke initiative

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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) – A plan to revitalize northwest Roanoke and improve the lives of residents is looming.

On Tuesday morning, Goodwill Industries of the Valleys, the City of Roanoke and other community partners announced plans for a new center that will include a grocery store, adult high school, wellness center and banking services.

The plan will repurpose the building that served as Goodwill’s headquarters and restore services northwest of Roanoke.

Richmond Vincent is President and CEO of Goodwill Industries of the Valleys.

“We’re not creating anything new,” Vincent told WDBJ7. “We’re not doing something that hasn’t been done before. We are giving this community back what it once was, before the urban renewal.

Plans have been in the works for several years, as community activists laid the groundwork to bring a grocery store to the neighborhood. With an adult high school, wellness center and banking services, neighborhood advocates say it can have a much bigger impact.

“It’s a place of hope, a place where we can have jobs in the community. That’s how I did it,” said longtime resident and neighborhood advocate Richard Chubb.

“We would like this to be a revival of Roanoke,” said Marion Ware of the NW Food Access Initiative. “We would like businesses, like the black-owned ones across the way, to have the support and the sustainability to grow.”

The project will cost more than $20 million, including $10 million from the city’s share of federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act.

“Kind of the icing on the cake came when the Citizens Advisory Committee got together to discuss how we spend our ARPA dollars,” said Roanoke City Manager Bob Cowell. “And that project was number one. It was at the top both in priority and in dollars that they recommended board engagement.

The services that Goodwill currently offers on the site will continue, but in a new location.

Construction of Melrose Plaza could begin in the second quarter of 2023, with the goal of completing the project by the end of 2024.

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