Roanoke County accessed the Virginia Pooled Financing Program (VPFP), in the fall 2017 pooled bond issuance, for a $6.44 million loan with a lease revenue pledge. The County used a portion of the loan proceeds to finance improvements at Explore Park, which features hundreds of acres of woodlands, hiking / biking trails, and access to the Roanoke River among other amenities. The Park serves residents and visitors alike and is an important outdoor recreation attraction, contributing to the region's overall quality of life. The Park also plays a vital economic development role, bringing tourism dollars to Roanoke County and the region.
The highly anticipated Treetop Quest at Explore Park opened in July 2019, offering a series of challenging tree-to-tree obstacles, tightropes, cargo nets, platforms, and ziplines up to 45 feet above the forest floor! The ropes course has quickly become a very popular attraction, and the County estimates that attendance could reach 25,000 during a full season, which may result in course expansion during the coming five years. Other Explore Park improvements recently completed by the County include utilities and bathroom/shower facilities that serve a campground, which was fully booked all summer.
Beyond the Explore Park enhancements, the County also used loan proceeds to replace public safety radios that had become obsolete and to acquire land for future construction of an administrative building. Ultimately, the VPFP enabled Roanoke to efficiently complete these various capital projects through a single, low-cost financing, where the costs of issuance were shared among 11 localities as part of the pooled transaction.