I swear that this blog will eventually be more than simply re-posting articles from the Roanoke Times, but just this very second (!) I read an interesting and almost germane article that I thought you, my zero dear readers, would find…um, how will you find this? Amazing? Catastrophic? Since there are zero of you, I guess there will be no feeling at all.
Anyway, here is the article.
“Start-up culture,” on which I’m an unquestioned expert so don’t question me on it, begins with smart people with new ideas, but it does not end there. You also need boring infrastructure crap, as you would for any nascent endeavor. (Except for hillbilly culture, for which all you need is dirt. No, I kid! This is Appalachia, homie, I ain’t hatin’. I’ve got pickup envy SO HARD right now.) Infrastructure that One Million Percent includes ubiquitous broadband, but also just good office space. Utilitarian – meaning conducive to the way start-ups work, so NOT segregated cube farms in suburban office parks – and comfortable.
We need more and better office space for start-ups to thrive here. For all the hype surrounding Roanoke’s downtown revitalization over the past decade, developers have actually done a shit job on this front. Sure, we needed apartments, but we didn’t only need apartments. What about a grocery store? Or a movie theater? Or affordable, attractive office space for start-ups??? *Caveat:Coworking space is a separate issue, and one I’ll discuss at a future date; as regards Roanoke, it is a surprisingly fruitful topic.*
Back to the article in the Times, which, for those too lazy to click on it, is about the City of Salem’s plan to “energize” their lil’ downtown. Why is it interesting for our purposes here at Grandin Republic? Especially when a reference to start-ups, even an oblique one, is nowhere to be found? It is because of the following quote, explaining that the methodology of the Salem study, which included public solicitation of ideas and upon which planning for downtown revitalization was based, uncovered this response:
“Not everyone sees the need to change anything in Salem, though. Payne said one thing they have noticed from survey respondents and casual conversation is that older generations of Salem residents think downtown Salem is fine just the way it is and don’t care for any changes.”