"They really made contributions that softened the blow of the great recession," explains Roanoke Regional Partnership Executive Director, Beth Doughty.
Doughty was with the Partnership back in 1999 when Carilion put the "clinic model" in motion and began working toward a medical campus that would offer specialty services and research capabilities.
Over the years Roanokers have seen construction along South Jefferson Street turn a once-desolate area into a thriving vein of downtown Roanoke.
That development includes the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute. The Bridges development across the street picked its location because of the Carilion Clinic influence. Most recently, Carilion Clinic's purchase of The Ivy Market building is just one more project in a long list that have contributed to economic growth in Roanoke.
Roanoke City Manager, Chris Morrill recently marked his four year anniversary of leading The Star City in a positive economic direction.
"The investments they are making in the community are tremendous," says Morrill.
In 2001, the eleven acre property where the medical school and research institute along with The Bridges are located had an assessed value of ten and a half million dollars. In 2014, that assessment increased to one hundred forty one million dollars.
"While we have a diverse economy, having healthcare as a major piece of it really is important for our current and our future growth," explains Morrill.
The strong healthcare foundation in Roanoke also played a role in the higher bond rating the city recently received. Because of that higher bond rating Roanoke can now borrow money with a lower interest rate. It will borrow seventeen million dollars for the next year of its 5 year plan. The lower interest rate will save eighty five thousand dollars in tax payer money.
"Its influence is great in terms of economic impact, contribution to prosperity and community infrastructure. That helps other businesses as well as individuals," says Doughty.
An added benefit is the real estate tax revenue increase.
*2001 - 11 acre tract of land along South Jefferson brought in one hundred twenty seven thousand dollars in real estate taxes. *2014 - 11 acre tract of land along South Jefferson brought in one million one hundred nineteen thousand dollars.
Morrill believes this is only the beginning.
"There is so much untapped potential here and Carilion is just one part of that. Young entrepreneurs are moving into the area and we are seeing the growth of downtown neighborhoods improving," he said.