UPDATE below from twitter conversation:
The Roanoke Times in a Thursday online and paper editorial has jumped on the happy train band wagon again telling city leaders to “go for” the over budget $1.2 million Market Square redo. The city will take $500,000 from the streetscapes fund to make up the shortfall.
Cost to transform Market Square to a pedestrian plaza rises
This money could cover the cost of additional trash compactors. Businesses have complained of lugging trash containers to the only one available and soon to be their only option.
But spending $1.2 million on Roanoke’s Market Square will bring more people downtown they say. Just how much improvement and money is it going to take to “bring more people downtown.” What is the saturation point that will finally satisfy?
Market Square swaps parking spaces for a more pedestrian focus
First it was “oh the $60 million Taubman Museum will bring in people from all over the world.” And that worked out so well. Then it was the Market Building redo at $7 million but softened with historical tax credits. The ambiance hasn’t satisfied all and the food prices are higher to adjust for higher tenant rent.
Center in the Square and the Western Virginia Museum was suppose to be a boon but the cost has led it to be more of a swoon. The city has also assisted in that renovation with $500,000.
The $6 million Elmwood Park redo is said to be another boost for downtown. It has already been criticized for its “non-green” concrete uninviting look. Now we have a $1.2 million for Market Square that will be attractive I am sure but really – is it another “if we build it they will come.” At least the hotel on top of the parking garage only requires about $75,000 of city assistance for utilities.
Elmwood Park cost exceeds budget by $1 million
If you dance you will need a police officer to watch you so you don’t get naked or drink too much according to Chief Perkins. It must be getting pretty wild down there.
The average Roanoker can’t afford to eat at the expensive restaurants and even the Market Building is not the feeding trough bargain it use to be.
I do hope all this “hope and change” pans out and people (who can afford it) flock downtown. It is for sure leaving many lower income Roanokers out of the excitement and on the city’s fringe.
Not all the residents of the “shining city on the hill” are covered in “bling” you know.
Posted By Valerie Garner
Categories: Commentary, Finance, Politics, Roanoke City Politics
Tags: city_debt, Elmwood, market_building