Moore Hosts Community Meeting in New Library

Charlotte Moore addresses community meeting attendees.

by Gene Marrano

One thing Cave Spring resident Charlotte Moore likes to do is inform the public she serves as a member of the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors, to keep them in the loop and ask for feedback. Moore, recently reelected to the board, has held community meetings for the past four years, many in the home of a constituent. Her most recent, held last week, was the first staged at the brand new South County Library on Merriman Road. A guided tour of the library was offered to the 50 or so on hand as well.

First off was her assessment of the new, $15 million, 54,000 square foot facility that debuted on January 3: “it’s a fabulous building,” said Moore. She reminded those in attendance, sitting in the meeting room near the Mill Mountain Coffee stand, that the Glenvar area is also awaiting its new library. Ground was broken there in September.

Moore recognized several Cave Spring area businesses that have been around for 90 years or more (AmRhein’s, Grand Home Furnishings) and several new establishments that have opened up in southwest Roanoke County, including Froth (a coffee house), Glazed Bisque-It and Wine Gourmet. The latter two relocated from Roanoke City addresses. Bubblecake, headquartered on Crystal Spring in South Roanoke City, has also started selling its cupcakes from a shop at Cave Spring Corners (419 and Brambleton).

As it seems she has done for the past several years, Moore pointed out that yes, there is activity atop South Peak, formerly known as Slate Hill, the denuded hillside at Franklin Road and Rt. 419. A 32-unit condominium development at the top of South Peak should start to rise in the next few months, according to Moore, and a Cracker Barrel restaurant could be on the way.

Moore said developer James Smith plans to build a nature trail and overlook on the property; he owns a wooded tract that extends away from South Peak to Hunting Hills – Moore would like to see the trail go that way.  Smith is still negotiating for other retailers and hotel chains to anchor what he has described in the past as an upscale project.

South Peak “has been very busy [and is] having a good year,” said Moore, who thinks a pedestrian bridge from Tanglewood Mall over 419 to a completed South Peak could benefit both properties. “Its one of the largest [projects] in the county,” said Tarek Moneir, who works in community development for Roanoke County and spoke briefly at the community meeting.

Moneir also mentioned the tightening regulations for storm water management, and how that might hit homeowners and homeowner’s associations in the pocketbook.  Keeping retention ponds in good shape, able to hold and disperse of rainwater runoff, is the subject of increased attention these days.

“We have to enforce this law,” said Moneir, “the county has started [to do that].” Increased maintenance could be mandated for property owners that have private storm water retention ponds. County Administrator Clay Goodman, also in attendance, concurred: “it’s going to cost you money.”

Feedback from those in attendance included grumblings about the county’s GIS system, used to locate properties online via digital coordinates. One attendee labeled it “a piece of garbage.” Moore said she would look into that. Another said there were not enough venues for lacrosse matches in southwest Roanoke County and asked if idle baseball fields could be used for a sport growing in leaps and bounds. Moore seemed to relish the feedback: “this is your community. Stay involved.”

Library Services Director Diana Rosapepe offered a tour of the new library as the meeting ended; it replaced the old main branch facility for Roanoke County on Rt. 419/Electric Road, which handled half of the county’s total circulation of 1.2 million pieces last year.  On opening day (Jan. 3), Rosapepe said she “stopped counting,” after 3000 or so had come through the doors to check the new place out. “It was a madhouse.”

Things seemed a bit quieter last week, as some read books at tables while sipping their Mill Mountain coffees. In fact there is a “quiet room” complete with fireplace and couches, for those that just want to read in peace. “The reaction has just been overwhelmingly positive,” said Rosapepe, who commends the Board of Supervisors for their support of the project.

The new South County library features lots of wood and glass, with commanding views of nearby Mason’s Knob. “I’ve had people tell me if they knew libraries looked like this, they would have been here a long time ago,” chuckled Rosapepe. “I think this library will be a model for [many] that follow.”

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