Your weekend Wow.. maybe

Here's a thought. Scrap the Inn idea. http://www.phy.ilstu.edu/~wenning/McMillin/e_mcmillin_observatory.jpg

Partner with Virginia Tech, UVa and whomever else wants to - The Mill Mountain Observatory. To be built a good distance behind the star, with a museum element and other displays and such.

Besides - the Mill Mountain Observatory sounds so classy.

Thats some funny shirt...

From the What If... file: As a chef, I can relate 100%
I'd buy one if I could
maybe I'll stop laughing tomorrow
(image courtesy of TotalFarker Supdog)

Sorry for the delay

But thanks for the comments.

I've been busy digging through some archives to see what plans initially were floated for Roanoke. Using John Nolen's 2 plans for Roanoke (1907 and 1928), I have been attempting to draw comparisons between the Roanoke that "could have been" and the Roanoke that "might still be."

So far, mixed results. Nolen himself designed Asheville's city plan in 1922, which is ironic considering how many times we hear of Roanoke becoming more like Asheville. In all actuality, considering Nolen's firm was commissioned more than 450 times in the years surrounding the 2 Roanoke plans - there's a good chance that most cities people want Roanoke to be "more like" were in some way designed by Nolen.

In his 1907 plan (oddly enough, the city makes this available as a .pdf - which is somewhat dangerous, as it might give people ideas) Nolen touches on the use of Mill Mountain and the Mountain Park Casino (built by the Roanoke Electric Railway Co.), and cites specific examples to illustrate his ideas.

It's a fascinating read, and the pictures are amazing (which I will show you over the weekend) are stunning - and really do bring thoughts to mind.

More later on that.


sittin on the corner

waitin in the chatroom.. stop in and say hi

City Council strikes again!

Even though they basically handed off the Valley Forward proposal to Darlene without officially supporting it - they still managed to come off looking like gold.

Comedy gold.

Vice Mayor David Trinkle noted that others have had similar ideas for Mill Mountain before.

"Your group appears to be the right group at the right time," he
said, adding that he still has come concerns about lighting on the site.

Hmmph. Lighting. Good concern.

Councilwoman Gwen Mason said her phone has rung all week with calls
from concerned citizens, whose message she summed up this way: "Touch a
blood root plant in Mill Mountain Garden at your peril."
The powerful gardening lobby must be oiling up their bypass loppers.

Mason also latched onto former Councilman Rupert Cutler's proposal
to couple the inn with a conservation easement that would protect the
rest of the mountain from further development.

"I'm hot on the trail on that idea," she said.

Get it? Heh! Hot on the TRAIL! Conservation easement... heh.. TRAIL!!!

Of course, the leadership of For the Valle.. um.. Valley Forward fared no better. Chairman Lugar said this is a great way to "democratize" the mountain. Hey, thats a piece of truthiness you can't deny.

Although obviously Valley for th. Forward's friends have not advised them well enough - the estimates they are running public with would build a restaurant on Mill Mountain.

A really fancy one, but $12 million will truly not go far due to materials, site, access, and all those other fun reasons. Allow me to share a bit of news: The "range hood" for a commercial kitchen (which the Mill Mountain thing would have 2 of) runs anywhere from $3k to 8k a linear foot. That's one of the biggest expenses.

Ah - whatever. Darlene has it now, I'm sure it will be months before we hear of it again, if at all.


Word up!

See that link to the right there.. the white box that says 1 person is chatting?

Thats me!

Tonight, from now until 9:30pm I will be available in the Roanoke, Va Lingr chatroom....

stop by, say hi, debate something...

901 and counting.

It's been 901 posts since I first started this venture, which I would call a benchmark. At times I have wandered the past, and the path which stems from it. I took time out for personal matters (the BST chronicles), championed unpopular ideas (the fight against the Art Museum comes to mind) and reported on the loss of historic sites. I have taken up the gauntlet of 'selling Roanoke'. Or, to be honest - selling the HELL out of Roanoke.

But to be honest and forward about everything - I know I am off course. I have stepped away from the focus on the past, the historic aspect which used to rule the blog - and walked deep into the battle for the future of Roanoke. Understand this: I left New York City for all the right reasons, the same reasons we all move - a better life, a better home - boundless opportunity.

Yes, you heard me right. Boundless opportunity. From the first moment I laid eyes on Roanoke I knew this place offered things that even big ol' Noo Yawk Sitee could not. Sometimes it takes the eyes of an outsider to see things like that.

In all this time I have struggled with the lack of comments, the lack of engagement among the hundred or so readers I have daily. Oh, I hear word from plenty of you... some I hear about directly, and some as 2nd hand reports as to who knows about the blog and my positions on things. It's those that I find interesting. The ones who have the ability to actually direct change can't even post an anonymous comment to encourage discussion amongst the populous.

I do get the occasional comment anon - usually something benign and easy. Today, someone left me some flame bait. In reference to my post titled 'Whose Valley?', I received this lovely missive: "Chances are, if you need to take the damn bus to get up there, you won't be spending anything anyway. " (emphasis added)

I could debate that point endlessly - backed up with fact, statistics, and opinions. Suffice it to say that not everyone who rides the bus is poor, sometimes it's just a good method of saving a dime or two. But let's take that at face value: someone was so offended by the very concept of my championing the use of Mill Mountain by all citizens - they were moved to leave a comment. Granted, it's not a good comment - it's base and smacks of class warfare - but thats the purpose of flame bait. It's to goad the author into a pointless argument. But it's something.

If there is one thing I hope to do is spawn conversation. I recently had opportunity to give a guided photograph tour of old Roanoke to a 20 year resident who had not the slightest idea of the history of the very downtown they have worked in, up to and including the 20 years they lived here.

I also gained some insight into the neighborhood she has lived in since moving here. It's a two-way street. The city is undertaking a massive project for it's 125th anniversary - recording the memories and stories of any resident who wishes to take part. They are encouraging the use of photographs and other 'props' in the storytelling.

There is still much to be gained by looking back at the past, and still a ton of hope for the future. But we all need to connect, become part of the 'problem' (he said with irony). The last election proved one thing to all of us - we need to become more organized - or the next city council will be 100% "For the(our) City". I am not asking you as a democrat, a republican, or an independent - I am asking you as a citizen of Roanoke.

Stop for a moment, and think about the city. Is this how you imagined it would be? And what do you think this will lead to in the future?

Look no further than the shell of the Art Museum, whose overhangs cover nearly half of Salem Avenue. And because they are sloped as they are, when the skin is added to the shell - I do not want to think about what Salem Avenue will be like after a snowfall, or worse. The simple act of decision-making has ramifications that some people would not like you to consider.

But this is the 21st century, and perhaps it's time to start working in OUR interests, not MY interests. If not, I fear South Roanoke will overrun the city, and the hardworking residents who keep the city going will be looking elsewhere for opportunity.

We are still strong, and on the razor's edge between a successful future and one which is troubled - and the decision lies in the hands of each and every person in Roanoke. Dangerous prospect, I know - but the truth.

As we press on with our mission here, I would like to invite all of you to take part. Through community effort the City Market was saved and revived, and through the same effort - the entire city can be the true Magic City once again.

Welcome to post 902