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

May 10

Near Normal Experiences

Posted to City Manager's Blog by Melinda Mayo

Very little about the past year plus has been normal (whatever that means).  School has been virtual, events have been cancelled, kitchen tables have become offices, and masks are ubiquitous.  Slowly, with vaccines becoming more common, restrictions have been lifted and life is taking on a new normal.

Family 

Prior to last week, the last time I had seen my parents was well over a year ago.  Zoom meetings and phone calls are nice, but not the same.  Fully vaccinated (them and us), they are spending the month of May with us.  They have stayed healthy through this entire endeavor and for that I am thankful, and therefore we continue to take precautions while they visit.  As more and more are vaccinated, an increasing number of families will be able come together and begin to return to normal.

Travel

This past weekend I was able to partake in two additional activities that, under more normal conditions, would seem rather common or routine.  The first was a trip—a first foray outside of the Commonwealth of Virginia—a feat not undertaken since February of 2020, just before the arrival of COVID.  It was a quick trip, just a weekend in Tennessee near the Smoky Mountains National Park.  It was wonderful to travel, though the near complete absence of mask-wearing in Tennessee was a bit disconcerting.  So nice to ride for hours, taking in the scenery, hiking along streams, and just being someplace different.

Celebrating 

The other was attendance at the University of Tennessee’s commencement ceremony—my wife was receiving her second Master’s degree.  The event was notable due to its occurrence on the surface of Neyland Stadium, a first in the University’s history.  Attendance at the event was limited in number. My parents were able to accompany us and all were masked and physically distanced, not too difficult for 4,000 people in a stadium that commonly holds more than the entire population of Roanoke, cheering on the Volunteers.

Both of these events reminded me just how much of the normal and routine we went without this past year and how important they are in our lives.  These near normal experiences add flavor and fun to our lives—memories are made and important accomplishments are noted.  These are the things that truly bring life to our days.  As more and more get vaccinated and as we work together to put COVID in the rear view mirror, the more common these otherwise normal activities and experiences will become.

We’re nearly there—nearly normal—let’s keep going with vaccines and appropriate mitigation measures.

— Bob Cowell


May 07

Roanoke Recap – May 7, 2021

Posted to Roanoke Recap by Melinda Mayo

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Roanoke Conducts Website Survey

We Need Your Input!  The City of Roanoke is in the process of redesigning its website to make it more user-friendly and efficient. To help us understand how Roanoke’s community members currently use the website and what features are desired, a short online survey will be conducted starting May 3, 2021, and ending on May 17, 2021.  To participate in the survey, click on this link.  Survey results must be submitted by May 17, at 5 p.m.

City to Celebrate 'Kids to Parks Day' May 15

This year, Roanoke Parks and Recreation will celebrate National "Kids to Parks Day" with a scavenger hunt like no other! This hunt can be completed in any City of Roanoke playground on Saturday, May 15, between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Not only will this have kids getting active, learning about their parks, and expressing their creativity, they’ll also have a chance to win some prizes! More information can be found at this link or on the PlayRoanoke website.

City Invests in Future and Saves $0.539 million

On April 27, 2021, the City of Roanoke successfully sold $64.165 million in General Obligation and Refunding Bonds, of which $22.05 million was for new capital projects, $33.24 million was to take out an existing bond anticipation note, and $8.875 million was to refund existing debt to realize savings associated with lower interest rates.  The cost of borrowing the funds was approximately 1.6%, which is a historically low interest rate. By refunding existing debt, the City will reduce its annual debt service thereby saving $539,000 over the life of the debt. More information is available here

Roanoke Recognized as 2021 Bright Spot Community 

The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading announced last week it has named Roanoke, Virginia and its Star City Reads initiative a 2021 Bright Spot Community for its responses to the COVID-19 crisis last year. Specifically, CLGR is highlighting communities that developed exemplary or innovative responses to the COVID crisis. In particular, the Campaign is recognizing communities like Roanoke for crafting solutions that seem especially effective, replication-worthy and/or deserving of being sustained during the post-COVID period. Read more here.





Roanoke Recognized as 2021 Bright Spot Community

The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading announced last week it has named Roanoke, Virginia and its Star City Reads initiative a 2021 Bright Spot Community for its responses to the COVID-19 crisis last year. Specifically, CLGR is highlighting communities that developed exemplary or innovative responses to the COVID crisis. In particular, the Campaign is recognizing communities like Roanoke for crafting solutions that seem especially effective, replication-worthy and/or deserving of being sustained during the post-COVID period. Read more here.

Roanoke Recognized as 2021 Bright Spot Community

The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading announced last week it has named Roanoke, Virginia and its Star City Reads initiative a 2021 Bright Spot Community for its responses to the COVID-19 crisis last year. Specifically, CLGR is highlighting communities that developed exemplary or innovative responses to the COVID crisis. In particular, the Campaign is recognizing communities like Roanoke for crafting solutions that seem especially effective, replication-worthy and/or deserving of being sustained during the post-COVID period. Read more here.