Roanoke’s New Achilles Heel, the Amphitheater

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As promised, I would like to delve into the new plans for the amphitheater in Roanoke City. I was reminded today by a reader and I appreciate the phone call.

Roanoke was applauded when they decided to remove the amphitheater plans from the budget this year. However, in an action that further perpetuated the displeasure with Roanoke City Council, they decided to add it back in. WTF? Exactly.

Two things I am sick and tired of is hearing about is that damn amphitheater


how out of money Roanoke City is!

The Amphitheater

Let me talk directly about why we don’t need an amphitheater. Because no one has shown the need for it. I have always said, going back to the Victory Stadium saga,  that if we needed one Victory Stadium would have been booked all year long. But it wasn’t.

What kind of leadership are we being run by? “If you build it, they will come”. Sure, that worked great in the movie, but in real life what guarantees to we have?

I think that a lot of the progressive things happening in Roanoke are great. Unfortunately, most are being done for the wrong reasons. Roanoke needs to stop funding private initiatives. Remember the apartment building at 1st and Campbell? Remember the tax breaks given to them? What about Ukrops? Remember the tax breaks given to them?

Get a hold of yourselves. We cannot prosper under a plan of increased tax revenue if every new tax revenue possibility is given tax breaks.

What about the City funded initiatives? Remember how much Roanoke City gave to the Art Museum? Can anyone count how many other museums we already have that are fighting for funding? Remember that huge green space where the amphitheater was supposed to go…before anyone said it was ok to put it there? Remember how much we spent on that?

What about studies and consultants? Why in the hell is Roanoke City paying salaries for some positions when every time we need data we have to outsource it? The people who should be doing it get to skate. Maybe we should be hiring more qualified individuals who can put together a report when needed.

Is Roanoke really broke?

You tell me. If you are living paycheck to paycheck and can’t hardly afford to put food on the table are you going to go out and purchase a luxury yacht?

Here are the ways Roanoke City has asked us to help out:

  • Turn trucks off on scene
  • Don’t let them idle too long before going somewhere
  • Keep the lights off as much as possible at the station
  • Don’t run the A/C too cold
  • Don’t run the heat to high
  • Don’t go out and train or ride territory too much

Here are the ways Roanoke City has forced us to help out:

  • No raise last year
  • No merit raise last year (maximum was less then 1%)
  • No more ICMA match (the maximum City paid was $25 a paycheck)
  • No more training other than on duty mandatory training
  • No more travel
  • No more college tuition assistance
  • No more pagers to find out about overtime
  • No more overtime, now we simply mark trucks out of service
  • No more vacation after signups because we have too many vacancies

I might have left something out, but that is a pretty pitiful look at what we have given up already.

Now lets go back to the $14,000,000, that’s million with an M, they are proposing to spend on the amphitheater. Do you think we have that kind of money laying around.

Bowers also praised Trinkle as a major behind-the-scenes driver in adding the City Market Building renovation and Elmwood Park amphitheater to the city’s five-year capital spending plan. Bowers said that those projects, combined with the Jefferson Center, Roanoke Civic Center and Valley View Mall, will make Roanoke a “tourism magnet that should have regional appeal throughout the mid-Atlantic states.” (source

What about us Bowers? The Roanoke City EMPLOYEES who make Roanoke City what it is. What about the ones who work day in and day out for a City who spends money so frivolously yet cannot afford to give their employees a COST OF LIVING RAISE?

If we don’t have the money then WE DON’T HAVE THE MONEY! Don’t tell us we don’t have the money and then spend $14 million like it is going out of style.

Ethics people…..Ethics….ethics…..groan…

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