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'A positive, progressive, successful community': Roanoke mayor gives State of the City

Mayor highlights new construction, high graduation rate

ROANOKE, Va. – Roanoke Mayor Sherman Lea maintained his optimism for the city in his annual update.

Lea gave his State of the City address to the Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce Thursday morning.

The mayor drew attention to Roanoke City Schools' 90 percent graduation rate, as well as major projects which finished such as the rebuilt Franklin Street Bridge and the new Melrose library.

"Success travels in the company of hard work," Lea said. "In light of all that has been done over in the past year and our plans for the future, it is clear Roanoke leaders are not afraid of a little hard work."

Jacara Sims lives near the new library and sees it as a sign of the city's improvement.

"For it to come out as beautiful as it did, it's awesome," Sims said. "It shows that we can do something as a community to have great things."

However, Sims says Roanoke still has room for improvement with crime.

"People can't stick together," Sims said. "There's a lot of people wanting to beef with each other instead of sticking together. We could use a new community center. With the kids not having too much to do around here, people tend to lean the wrong way."

Lea says he's proud of how far the city has come and believes it will continue to improve.

"We can sustain our momentum as a positive, progressive, successful community in which everyone plays a role in making our incredible potential," Lea said.