White again. Brilliant white.
The star lit in red, white, and blue was nice - but white is defining.
White Stars can have bad reputations, however. The White Star Line was mother to some of the grandest, and yet most ill-fated ships in history. Roanoke's own White Star has always been a beacon, of sorts - and yet now - there is question as to weather it is a beacon lamp, or warning lamp of an iceberg ahead.
As Roanoke, and the rest of the nation, struggles with misplaced identities from the past - we wrap ourselves in retail - franchise, the safe route.
Roanoke has been bubble-wrapped and sanitized for your protection, but the system is falling apart.
In years past - Roanoke has had the opportunity on numerous occasions to set itself apart from the pack of cities it is normally held to as comparison.
Still to this day, it misses those opportunities.
Now the Lake will have an amphitheater, while Roanoke - which has had a location for one for years now, does not. And yet still Roanoke investigates the option of an amphitheater.
Unless ours will be larger than the one at the Lake - there is no reason for building one. We missed that boat. Perhaps we should look into building something larger - maybe a stadium - football style, which could house both concerts AND sporting events.
And yes, I know we had Victory - but in all fairness, for what Roanoke really needs Victory Stadium could not provide.
Right now, on Reserve Avenue - there is a hotel being built. A $10 Million dollar hotel, complete with meeting space, restaurants, and the like. It will exist, in part, for Carilion's new Biomedical Park. But what of the people who come to stay there. Will they stay local to the hotel and Carilion? Or will they wish to venture out and discover Roanoke?
And if they should, travel Jefferson rather than Franklin into Downtown - what will they see?
Where will they go, aside from the single destination of "Downtown" or the Star. Shopping is decidedly not a destination, so that rules out Valley View and Tanglewood. Explore Park would be great if they could find it. And really, other than a nice stroll - whats to do there? (this from an avowed fan of historical recreations)
Tourist dollar plays directly with the non-tourist dollar. If the locals can't find something to do, the tourists will have a hard time finding it. And I'm thinking the average Roanoker would more appreciate a lazy river and a fishing hole rather than a kayak park...
But we paid good money to a specialist to tell us we need these things. I guess it's easier to dismiss something you pay for as opposed to ignoring the will of the people. Maybe it's just me.
If we expect to advance, to grow and prosper as a city - we need to realize that the population is in decline. At the rate of 200 per year, we are losing people. Even the city schools are losing, as enrollment rates are dropping.
We need to drop the safety net, and get dangerous. Engage in some deep thought, activate the communities and get into some serious change. And no paid study is going to do that.
It comes down to two things, the city council and the citizens. Both need to demand more of each other, and work together more.
The White Star shines again, but does it shine for the bright promise of tomorrow, or the warning of whats ahead?