By Susan E. Short and Chris Morrill
What do rail, a rehabbed hotel and refugees have to do with Roanoke’s renewal? During the last 20 years, city leaders in Roanoke and leaders at Virginia Tech have worked together in a remarkable partnership that has tackled the thorniest of modern American challenges: re-creating economic and cultural vibrancy in a once-declining central city core.
Visitors to downtown Roanoke may admire the pedestrian-friendly City Market area. And local businesses may enjoy the bustle created by the influx of conference-goers to The Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center. But economic vibrancy wasn’t always obvious.
Short is associate vice president for engagement at Virginia Tech.
Morrill is city manager of Roanoke.