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The wall with a "window" was built as a demonstration piece of the rec center.
TOM LANDON | Special to The Roanoke Times
The mystery wall stands near the Green Ridge Recreation Center in north Roanoke County, but not for much longer. The contractor plans to knock the wall down soon.
Sunday, March 17, 2013
Q: Every day I ride on Wood Haven Road in north Roanoke County. I have noticed a small section of wall with one window close to the road. Behind this is an old house and all of this is next to the Green Ridge Rec Center. I’m wondering what’s up with this “window” and why it’s there.
Cory Fisher, Roanoke County
A: Thanks for sending a photo, Cory, it piqued my interest, so I drove over to take a look. That structure is right next to the Green Ridge Recreation Center, the popular Roanoke County facility that sees more than 400,000 visitors a year. Upon closer inspection I noticed that the “wall” by the road shares a lot of the architectural features of the rec center, so I called Roanoke County to see if they knew anything about it.
Pete Haislip is retired now, but he was the director of the Roanoke County Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department during the construction of the rec center. He knows the back story: “During the design process [for Green Ridge] the contractors built that as a demonstration piece to show the different materials. You look at something on paper and it’s one thing, but actually seeing it on the ground is another.”
So what you are looking at is a mock-up of the facade of the rec center. It’s located on private land owned by English Construction and it’s just a byproduct of the design and building process.
While I was taking pictures of it, Thelma Gobble, who lives across the street, pulled into her driveway and kindly agreed to talk to me. Thelma’s take on the mystery wall? “We couldn’t figure out what it was at first, and then we kept wondering when they were going to tear it down.”
During the building of the rec center, Thelma and her family put up with a lot of construction traffic and trailers right across the street, but she wasn’t really complaining. When I asked what she’d like to see happen to the wall, she told me in no uncertain terms that she’d like somebody to get rid of it, though she hadn’t called anyone to see if they would.
I called Ray Booth, special projects coordinator for English Construction, based in Lynchburg. English had a big hand in building the rec center. He confirmed the purpose of the structure, and when I told him why I was calling, he also said that he’d make sure to send a crew out to knock it down and haul it away soon.
While part of me thinks that the mystery wall should remain where it is so that future generations can ponder its purpose, for the sake of the Gobbles’ view I’m glad it will soon be going away.
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Look for Tom Landon’s column on Mondays.
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