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Sep 24

Bragging on the Star City

Posted on September 24, 2018 at 3:26 PM by Whitney Slightham

I recently had occasion to see a number of city manager’s from my old stomping grounds - Texas. As it had been a year since I started work in Roanoke and since I had last seen most of them, they naturally inquired how things were going. I was more than happy to let them know that from my perspective things couldn’t be better.

Stacking Up

Fully aware that these are managers who measure annual population growth in the thousands and economic expansion by the 10’s and sometimes 100’s of millions or even more, I was proud to say Roanoke is growing in a manageable manner - that is, enough growth to matter but not so much that it dominates every conversation and consumes every dollar. As for economic growth, of course I pointed to the 10’s of millions being invested in our Innovation Corridor by Virginia Tech, Carilion, and others, along with the 100’s of millions that private interests have invested in downtown, resulting in a vibrant and attractive place that I dare say many back in Texas would envy.

I went on to point out our airport with its expanding air service located within a few short traffic-free minutes of where most of us live, the recent return of Amtrak, the richness of our diversity, our wonderful arts and culture offerings, neighborhood libraries, the miles and miles of greenways, and on and on. Of course, I couldn’t help but highlight the mountains - something not all too common in the Lone Star State.

As these were fellow managers, I also got to brag a bit about my Council and their commitment to their city and each of its neighborhoods, and their ongoing focus to ensure everyone has the best shot at success possible. I got to highlight how decision makers across our region have come together to ensure we have safe and reliable drinking water, increased access to broadband, and globally competitive economic development opportunities.

Something Special

After speaking with them, I felt pretty good about my new home. We have something pretty special. Any time we can share that with people, we should. I am proud of what we have done in Roanoke, what we are trying to do - whether it’s fixing something or seizing upon a new opportunity. I enjoyed bragging a bit about we have here. Heck, we even have a few places that can do barbecue pretty well, and we’ve got our own star high up on top of a mountain!

- Bob Cowell


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