In every long-odds venture there is one person who is the first to step up and take a chance. In Roanoke, Virginia it was Ed Walker, a 44-year old lawyer and developer who put his time, energy and money behind an effort to turn around his home town, a blue-collar city of 97,000 at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains, just over the ridge from West Virginia.
It seems to be working for both Ed and Roanoke, but it would take courage to put a lot of money into rehabilitating Warren on the scale being undertaken in Roanoke; and in addition to nerve and money it requires a person with vision. People like that aren’t easy to find. You can read the story of Roanoke’s revival in a recent New York Times article.
In the same day’s Times columnist Gail Collins (a Cincinnati native and brother of ex-Yankee Paul O’Neil) travels to Williston, ND, a town of 16,000 with 1% unemployment thanks largely to the shale oil boom. Perhaps this is a vision of Warren’s future? Median income in Williston has risen over 60% since the drilling started but there are no apartments for rent either. It’s an interesting (and short) piece which you can read here.
There were two good letters in the Tribune this morning regarding the One-stop building idea; one by Helen Hader, whom I do not know and the other by Josh Nativio. They are both opposed to the new building. I would be happy to publish letters or comments in support of the building but I have read and heard none.