Program Summary:

Building A Community: Putting the Pieces Together demonstrated how communities are built – literally – by highlighting the physical and social infrastructure that contribute to a vibrant community like Roanoke. Participants heard from a variety of community leaders who discussed the potential impact of broadband in the Roanoke Valley, the reimagined Colonial Avenue streetscape, individuals and organizations working in the West End neighborhood, the use of historic tax credits to spur redevelopment, and pubic-private partnerships driving the Explore Park project. The program connected how all of the infrastructural pieces fit together and how a community would suffer if one or more pieces were missing.

Furthermore, the program explored how decisions surrounding community infrastructure are made and challenged participants to consider the resulting intentional or unintentional consequences. The Community Impact Team defined its goals and objectives for the program as follows:

  • Learn how communities are developed and interconnected
  • Increase awareness as to how decisions are made and their impacts on the community
  • Develop an understanding of how we as individuals can take action and create communities in which we want to live, work, and play.

The first and second goals were addressed as participants heard from expert speakers and panelists throughout the day. The third goal was met as participants were provided specific opportunities to get involved during the calls to action.

Overall, the day went well. There were logistical problems with a breakout room reservation, a speaker running late, and a technological issue that forced the team to quickly find solutions to keep the program on track. Our team realized that we put together an ambitious agenda for the day. We were also aware that our topic was a non-traditional approach to the “Community Impact” program. At the end of the day though, it was apparent that the program sections did tie together, matched up with our goals and objectives, and provided our audience an interesting topic that we feel kept their attention for most of the day.

Team Participants:

  • Christopher Bever
  • Rebekah Bradley Gunn
  • Letitia Hawkins-Beatty
  • WilliamHardin
  • Milan Hayward
  • Britteny Jenkins
  • Marci Stone

Team Advisors:

  • Lauren McMillan
  • John Gardner
  • Jessie Lacks
  • Michael Wilson

Program Sponsors:

A special thank you to the following businesses and organizations for providing sponsorships and/or gifts-in-kind for the Community Impact Team program:

  • Mission BBQ
  • Virginia Western Community College
  • Al Pollard Culinary Arts
  • Program at Virginia Western
  • Western Virginia Water Authority
  • Roanoke County Parks, Recreation, and Tourism
  • Spilman Attorneys at Law
  • UBS Financial Services
  • Branch & Associates
  • Coca-Cola Bottled Co. Consolidated
  • Chick-Fil-A
  • Our Daily Bread Bakery & Bistro
  • Martin’s Downtown Bar & Grill
  • Viva La Cupcake
  • AFC Urgent Care