Mayor Sherman Lea highlights collaboration in State of the City address

Lea says community groups, schools have contributed to area's growth

ROANOKE, Va. – Collaboration and working together are two of the keys to continued success in the city of Roanoke, Mayor Sherman Lea said during his State of the City address Thursday.

"We're committed to making this city and the quality of life the best it can be," Lea said.

Lea highlighted the city's accomplishments in the past year, including new development in downtown Roanoke, affordable housing and other investments along the city's Melrose-Orange corridor and a commitment to education and work readiness.

"We're at a good point right now," Lea said. "The city is doing well and I'm looking forward to a brighter future."

Dr. Rita Bishop, superintendent of Roanoke City Public Schools, and Bob Cowell, Roanoke city manager, also spoke to community and business leaders during the breakfast hosted by the Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce.

"The aspects that we talk about and that the mayor highlighted -- they mean a lot to a business in deciding whether they're going to grow their business in this region," said Joyce Waugh, chamber president and CEO.

Much of the mayor's address focused on the partnerships and programs that local agencies and nonprofits, city schools, and area colleges and universities have participated in to contribute to the area's growth.

"We have development," Lea said. "People are coming into the city. The city is growing. We're going to have some more exciting information about the train, Amtrak and what we want to do. I can just see things are happening."

He said it's important that everyone is included in the city's growth.

"We've had a lot of discussions about poverty and things in our community," Lea said. "We're addressing those. We're going forward with our community block grants, especially in those targeted areas."  

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