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Find out what's happening in the blog. Below is a list of blog items.

Sep 26

Reassuring, Worrisome, and Hopeful

Posted to City Manager's Blog by Casey Lewis

Reassuring, Worrisome and Hopeful

I recently had the opportunity to attend the 108th Annual Conference of the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) in Columbus, Ohio.  For the first time since before the onset of COVID, I was able to join thousands of City and Town Managers, County Administrators, Assistant and Deputy Managers and other senior local government leaders from across the nation and elsewhere in the world.  As has been the case in the past, the opportunity was insightful and rewarding, offering many learning opportunities that I trust will continue to make me a better manager and benefit Roanoke and its residents.

This year perhaps more than any other year in the past, I found myself experiencing an interesting blend of reassurance along with apprehension.  More often than I can ever recall, the conversations in the halls, exhibit area, educational sessions and events were closely aligned.  Large, small, urban, rural, blue state or red state, U.S., Canada, New Zealand or Belgium – the concerns, challenges and opportunities were very similar – community by community.

Reassuring Company

It was reassuring to hear and take part in conversations and educational sessions where community leaders were grappling with many of the very same challenges as we are here in Roanoke.   For the most part, I knew this prior to the conference but there is something reassuring about hearing directly from fellow administrators that we are all engaged in the same struggles.   Homelessness, most especially those living out of doors, unsheltered is a challenge whether in communities in New York, Texas, Oregon or here in Virginia.  Gun Violence is wreaking havoc in communities from Minnesota to Florida and from Arizona to Michigan and all parts in between.  No community in attendance is able to attract and retain enough police officers, fire fighters, sanitation workers, engineers, accountants, landscapers and so on, to meet the service needs or expectations of their communities.  While budgets currently remain healthy, all recognize they are temporarily propped up by plentiful federal aid and are quickly being eroded by inflationary pressures and worse still, is the looming specter of a likely recession, even as most communities have yet to fully recover from the last major recession and certainly not from the economic impacts of COVID.

Worrisome

The apprehensive or disconcerting part was that along with each of these conversations and inside the workshops or at the general sessions, all present are applying mostly the same tools and interventions.  That is, we are all working diligently in much the same way to end homelessness, gun violence and address workforce issues in our community.   We are all preparing our budgets in much the same manner, anticipating the looming shocks and revenue losses.  While a bit reassuring that we are on the same path as most others, it is a bit worrisome that for most of these significant and critical issues, we as a society have yet to arrive at adequate solutions and interventions.  

Hopeful

I am reassured by the fact that thousands of administrators, elected officials, researchers, police and fire chiefs, outreach workers, clerks, supervisors and many more are all working toward meaningful and sustainable solutions, sharing lessons learned and continuously innovating new and better ways of doing things.  While quick and easy solutions may elude us at the moment, I am confident that real and lasting responses to each of the challenges are possible and assure you that I and each of the 1700+ employees of this organization will continue to identify, test, innovate, adapt and implement the best responses possible, in pursuit of the results we all seek.


- Bob Cowell

Sep 14

Roanoke Recap September 14, 2022

Posted to Roanoke Recap by Carol Corbin

Upcoming Street Closures

ROANOKE, VA - Upcoming special events with parking or street restrictions:

First Friday, 9/16/22, from 2 pm to 10 pm, on Franklin between Williamson and Jefferson    

Straight Street Youth Night on Friday and Saturday, 9/16/22 and 9/17/22, from 5 pm to 11 pm on Luck between 3rd and 4th

Cyclocross Race on Saturday and Sunday, 9/17/22 and 9/18/22, from 6 am to 11 pm at Fallon Park

Henry Street Music Fest on Saturday, 9/17/22, from 8 am to 11:45 pm, at Elmwood Park and Franklin between Jefferson and Williamson

Worship Event on Sunday, 9/18/22, from 3 pm to 10:30 pm at Market Square and Market between Kirk and Campbell

Melrose Health Fair on Sunday, 9/18/22, from noon to 6 pm, on 16th between Melrose and Orange

Download the Waze App   waze_logo_color

The City of Roanoke has partnered with Waze and joined the Connected Citizens Program in an effort to let citizens know about traffic impacts of capital improvement projects, special events, and planned street closures. Download Waze and join other drivers in Roanoke who share real-time traffic and road info, saving everyone time and gas money on their daily commute.

To download the free Waze app for iOS or Android, visit www.waze.com. For more information on Waze privacy policy, visit https://www.waze.com/legal/privacy.

Welcoming Week

Welcoming Week events

Welcoming Week 2022 is in full swing! The week kicked off on Friday, September 9th with the Roanoke Runs for Refugees 5k. It was a fun and fantastic race with over 150 runners participating. Events are taking place every day this week. Check out our schedule to see what’s coming up next! Welcoming Roanoke: #WhereWeBelong5k

Roanoke Community Fair Housing Survey

Your input and participation are essential in helping us understand and address fair housing needs in our community. If you have not already done so, please take a few minutes to complete the Community Fair Housing Survey by clicking this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/T6MN67T. For more information on Fair Housing click here.

fair housing


Roanoke Valley Regional Public Safety Career Fair

Thinking of a career in Public Safety? Reminder to head out to the Salem Civic Center on Saturday, September 17th to the Roanoke Valley Regional Public Safety Career Fair. Stop by and speak with representatives from RPD, Roanoke Fire-EMS, Roanoke City Sheriff's Office, and City of Roanoke E-911.

safety fair


New Boxwoods Added Below Mill Mountain Star to Honor William Booth

starJust below the Roanoke Star on Mill Mountain, you'll find a plaque in honor of Mr. William H. Booth, the lead electrician for the construction of the Star in 1949. In 2007, boxwoods from the Booth family home were transplanted on Mill Mountain in his honor. This past summer, Parks and Recreation Landscape Management Coordinator, Laura Reilly, worked with Mr. Booth's son to add new boxwoods where some of the original plantings had not survived.

Boxwoods were chosen by the family specifically to honor Mr. Booth because he was "a blue-collar man with no frills," and a boxwood was similarly "no frills." We recently received a message of thanks, calling the landscaping, "elegant and very respectful of my father’s role in managing the work to electrify the Star in 1949. And it is also a tribute to the steel workers, excavators and other laborers who did the actual construction." 

We hope you'll join us in thanking Laura and her crew for their great work on this project, and we invite you to take a moment to visit the boxwoods and think of Mr. Booth's work the next time you visit Mill Mountain!