Thursday, August 16, 2007

State of the City Address – 2007

Neighborhood Services pays the fee for presidents of Neighborhood Organizations to attend the yearly State of The City address by our Mayor. This event is sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. If I had to pay it would have cost almost $30 for breakfast. I thank Neighborhood Services and the City for sponsoring our attendance as we are the only common folk that get invitations. Of Course, I wore a SAVE COUNTRYSIDE tag at the event.

At any rate I sat with other Neighborhood Organization Presidents and did get to mingle before heading to work.

I will not repeat what will be reported in the media about the contents of this years State of the City. However, I would like to point out that the table where I was seated all commented on the Mayor’s initiative to move “experienced” teachers to under performing schools. Almost in unison we said “that is a good way to lose experienced teachers”.

I attended last years State of the City address and listened as the purchase of the Countryside property was touted as increasing the housing stock in Roanoke City – the 4.1 million dollar purchase and Roanoke City’s first entry into the real estate business.

Now imagine if the State of the City address was required to reference the State of the City address from the prior year. What happened to the City’s purchase of the Countryside Property? How much of our tax money was flushed into that great “sewage treatment plant in the sky”. Yes, we are all still making that mortgage payment on the property with our tax dollars while the operator of the golf course pockets all the revenue. Interest only is fast approaching ½ million dollars. Let us now plan the proper use of this property and fulfill the long overdue promise of parks and recreation for our area. Great lead in to the next State of the City topic ….

Parks and Recreation Master Plan touted – Many of the Countryside Neighborhood folks attended the Parks and Recreation workshops. We made the case for Parks and Recreation to take over operating the Countryside golf course at every workshop and forum we attended. Mr. Boucher, Parks and Recreation Director, said all the city had to do is hand it to them and they could operate it with no problem. I imagine though they would need some expertise in “turf” (greens keeper) and an experienced golf course manager.

Did the Mayor speak of Countryside you eagerly ask? Well, no mention of that boondoggle. No mention of its future. NO PRESS CONFERNCES for us – which is a whole other sore spot for me. We will be vigilant and watch for “WHO SPEAKS FOR US?”

Can a previously annexed portion of the City that gets ZERO attention revolt and become “unannexed”?


That sure would have made a great sign to hold up at the State of the City address. Would bet I’d never get another invitation to that function.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Politics, Roanoke City Politics


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