You cannot buy the youth off with kayak parks and amphitheaters. Seriously.
What the youth want is what everyone else wants. A sense of stability, a job they enjoy, and a place to hang out with your friends and have a beer.
Does Roanoke have it?
Somewhat - but the desperation with which they "attempt" to court the young professional is like the stink of fear. It clings.
What makes a city cool? The same things that make it livable. Jobs, services, a mix of everything and nothing.
First thing that young people notice about Roanoke is the beauty. The majestic mountains, the sculpted landscapes - touched by heaven. The 2nd thing is the gritty feel of certain areas - which feels comfortable to those from major cities. 3rd - the serenity of it all.
That's it. Everything else comes later. But the first impact Roanoke makes on someone who has not been here before is those 3 things.
Not the Market - which is a great discovery when they find it. The greenway system is another bonus. Mill Mountain and it's zoo are nearly overwhelming when added to the bowl that is Roanoke.
But let them look a bit deeper, and it becomes apparent that there are cracks in the surface of the bowl.
No support for the kinds of things they want to see, no community to interact with. Low standards, low accountability, and plenty of other chinks in the glaze.
But that happens, and they stick it out - balancing one with the other.
Listen, and focus.
We know Roanoke can be better.
Darlene Burcham recently said that the key to the real revolution in Roanoke is letting people know that this city will not be dragged down by low standards and poor behavior. Direct, honest, and simple. Like that guy that was peeing on the column before the pedestrian walkway Saturday afternoon. Easily 20 people walked by and saw him. Right out in the open, not even attempting to hide it (wearing coveralls makes it hard to shield anything). 20 people walked right by and let this nimrod make our city look bad.
Well, I had a gentle word with this numbnuts - letting him know in no uncertain terms that it was not a bright idea, and a citizen's arrest carries just as much weight with the judge as a cops. Weather it took or not, I can't say - he just walked off.. but that's just one person. If multiple citizens said something - perhaps he would get it through his head... and if not, well - a witness is as good as a photograph.
The power to change comes from Focus.
And that is king.