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Jun 05

Recap of Hollins Design Open Houses

Posted on June 5, 2018 at 4:33 PM by Bailey Howard-DuBois

Community feedback
At two design open house meetings in May, nearly 60 attendees helped "reimagine" changes over the next 20 years in Hollins. Participants voted on potential future design options for a new Hollins Center, including possibilities for commercial and residential redevelopment, new community spaces and multi-modal transportation improvements.

The exercise asked participants to mark their preferred and not preferred types of improvements in these broad categories using green and red dots. This exercise will help staff identify design recommendations and priorities for the area. If you missed the meeting, the exercise is now available to take online! The full results will be available in July.

Design survey results for commercial/residential development from May 10, 2018

Of the commercial redevelopment options, participants showed a strong preference for town center mixed-use development, but did not want to see more “big box” anchor stores. Of the low-density housing options, standalone patio homes were preferred. Results were mixed about high-density housing, with most participants showing some interest in multi-family options with fewer floors. 

At the stakeholder meetings, March community meetings and in the survey results, participants identified locations for a large variety of desired development, including: sit-down restaurants; coffee shops; bars and breweries; entertainment venues; specialty grocery stores; a lifestyle/Town Center; youth center; sports complex; research and development; apartments; retirement housing; and more. Staff displayed these results on a map.

Design survey results for placemaking elements, outdoor recreation spaces and landscaping/streetscaping from May 10, 2018

Participants also voted on placemaking and aesthetic elements for public spaces. Most wanted pedestrian-oriented signage and lighting, outdoor seating at restaurants and lots of landscaping elements along the street. For outdoor recreation, participants liked the idea of a natural water / play park or a large festival and event park for the Hollins Center area.

Design survey results for transportation improvements from May 10, 2018

For pedestrian improvements, participants liked paved greenways, natural surface hiking trails and sidewalks in both public spaces and neighborhoods. The winning choice for bikes was the separated bike and pedestrian shared use paths, with sharrows (bikes share the lane with cars) as the least desired option. Finally, participants wanted to see an expansion of the Valley Metro bus system or a community trolley to provide transit options.

A map showing most of the Roanoke Valley asked participants where they would want to walk or bike to from the study area. A second map of the greater region asked participants where they would like to take the bus from the study area. Besides the voting exercise and maps, participants could see plans and concepts for several multi-modal transportation projects already in the works. Attendees could also comment on a map of all transportation issues and needs in the study area based on the March meetings’ public feedback, survey results and stakeholder interviews.

If you would like to comment on the maps and vote on these options, please take the online design survey! Open until June 30.

Survey Results

The Hollins Center survey was open from February 1 through April 7 and received 393 responses. Many respondents felt that the area was conveniently located and a nice place to live, but lacked dining, shopping and entertainment options. There was a strong desire for redevelopment for housing, locally-owned businesses and places to hang out, including an updated Hollins Library. One respondent suggested that “there are just not enough real estate opportunities for leasing quality space for small businesses…A planned community could be the catalyst to make the area grow.”

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Another theme from all the community input so far was the need for sidewalks, crosswalks, bike lanes and/or shared-use paths to increase safety for all modes of transportation. One respondent pointed out that “this area is so convenient to Carvin’s Cove, Read Mountain, etc. It is important that [the plan] enhance the outdoor culture and make people comfortable outside their vehicles.” Many others noted the importance of preserving and enhancing natural resources and parks in the area.

While some responses showed a hesitation for too much change in the area, most were enthusiastic about “reimagining” Hollins. “We need more in this area – we’re super excited about this initiative!”

Roanoke County will draft the Hollins Center Plan over the summer and bring it back to the public for a plan reveal meeting in the fall.

See the full results of the meeting exercises and stay in touch by signing up for the Hollins Center email list at