The Roanoke Outside Foundation has announced a $100,000 campaign to raise money to support and develop outdoor assets and businesses in the Roanoke Region. “Project Outside” is a described as a community fund to support outdoor capital improvement projects, maintain key outdoor assets, and to help launch and support businesses in the outdoor sector. Pete Eshelman is the Foundation’s director; he says Project Outside will be an ongoing fundraising and grant campaign – targeted towards the larger outdoor parks and amenities in the Roanoke Region:
(release from Roanoke Outside Foundation) the Roanoke Outside Foundation, a program of the Roanoke Regional Partnership, announces a $100,000 campaign to raise money to support, develop, and foster outdoor assets and businesses in the Roanoke Region. Project Outside is a community fund created by businesses, governments, and individuals to support outdoor capital improvement projects, maintain key outdoor assets, and help launch and support businesses in the outdoor sector. It is a partnership between the Roanoke Outside Foundation and land managers (i.e. local governments, ATC, NPS, etc.) of identified regional outdoor assets. Project Outside funds will be used to fill maintenance funding gaps in projects or initiatives and pool resources to tackle new outdoor infrastructure projects.
“We have to ensure that we don’t love our outdoor assets to death,” said Pete Eshelman of the Roanoke Outside Foundation. “The COVID-19 pandemic has made that even more apparent with local recreation areas seeing an upwards of 200% increase in usage. “While it seems that we should be celebrating the fact that more people in our region are getting outside and enjoying all the natural assets we’ve worked so hard to promote, it’s actually generating even more wear and tear. Parks, rivers, greenways, and public spaces don’t bounce back on their own and unfortunately, our region isn’t currently investing in these areas at a rate that will allow us to capitalize on our community strength.”
The goal is to raise $100,000 this year, and then keep it going. This is our time to invest in our community strength – the outdoors – to continue positioning the Roanoke Region as a preferred place to live, work, play, and visit. A 2018 study by Roanoke Outside, “Roanoke Region Outdoor Impact, Infrastructure, and Investment Study” identified opportunities for improvement, enhancement, and trouble spots. The key area of concern, echoed by local land managers, was adequate funding for maintenance of key regional outdoor assets. Corporate supporters are leading the charge with $50,000 already pledged from Anthem, Carilion Clinic, Freedom First Credit Union, Haley Toyota, Hydro Flask, Member One Federal Credit Union, and Orvis.