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99-year lease agreement reached for Virginia's Explore Park in Roanoke County

By Web Staff, WDBJ7, news@wdbj7.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 04:41:38 AM EST
Updated On: Aug 29 2013 12:59:15 PM EDT

An agreement will allow Roanoke County to develop a regional outdoor adventure park on the property.

ROANOKE CO., Va. -

The next chapter in the history of Virginia's Explore Park will have Roanoke County in control.

On Thursday morning the  board that oversees Explore said it has agreed to a 99-year lease. The agreement will allow Roanoke County to develop a regional outdoor adventure park on the property.

“This is going to be a great opportunity,” Roanoke County Supervisors Chairman Mike Altizer said. “I'm glad to think that down the road we do not have to worry about it being padlocked and overgrown for 10 or 20 years before anybody could have invested something to get her back to what she is.”

Supervisors Chairman Mike Altizer says improvements won't happen overnight. The first priorities include maintenance and repairs to the Brugh Tavern, the Taubman welcome center and the Mountain Union Church.

The Board of Supervisors will discuss the lease agreement at its board meeting September 10th, and a public hearing is scheduled September 24th.

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Roanoke County has agreed to a 99-year lease for the Explore Park, with the long-term goal of creating a regional adventure park.

Virginia Recreational Facilities Authority chairman Kelvin Bratton detailed the plan in an announcement Thursday.

“The VRFA's goal has been to meet the mission of Explore Park,” Bratton wrote in a news release. “Our pending agreement with Roanoke County will preserve what we have created, and evolve the many opportunities we have cultivated throughout our 27 years in existence. This is a time for great enthusiasm and anticipation.”

The Roanoke County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to take up the lease agreement at a meeting on Sept. 10 and a public hearing Sept. 24.

If the agreement is approved, officials would look at public-private partnerships for Explore Park for future economic development. Among of the possible uses of the park are hosting special events, family outreach programs, pavilion rentals, RV camping, rental cabins, and outdoor adventure attractions.

Click here to see more about the agreement.