Voters returned all three Roanoke City Council incumbents to their seats for another term Tuesday in a race one of them termed “a referendum on the direction of the city.”
“I think the direction that council as a whole has taken the city has been affirmed,” said independent Ray Ferris. “We have a mandate to continue to move the city forward in a positive direction.”
Are we talking about the same city here?
Is it Roanoke, beneficiary of a recent bond rating upgrade to AA+, due in part to its “strong financial management?” That’s the Roanoke three incumbent Roanoke City Council members running for re-election see.
Or is it Roanoke, the potential “next Detroit,” with a city council suffering from a “spending and borrowing addiction” and “massive challenges,” as the Republican ticket put it in a recent news release?
Start in the Roanoke City Market Building, renovated and reopened in 2011. Head south and cross Market Square, still dusty from a $1.1?million renovation that’s just wrapping up.
Keep going, past the Market Garage, soon to be topped by a 127-room hotel, and enter Elmwood Park, just transformed by a $7 million overhaul into an outdoor festival and music venue.
That four-block stroll brings into sharp focus the attention paid to the city’s center by Roanoke’s government in recent years.