City Certainly Gave Up But FBC Perhaps Not
The way some City Council members have been demonstrating their simple and in fact backwards looking views of building permits reveals much about the quality of our local "leadership". Modern building codes and strong leadership in the past might have prevented some of this decay. I'm also thinking we are giving local tax breaks to Wal-Mart to further destroy our small businesses and the downtown community yet that's another issue.
First Baptist Church might be doing more good than harm however. These buildings were marginally historical in their current form. If FBC can provide an attractive alternative, and maybe a little parking to boot, then you'll have one more pocket of progress. I recall my mother parking behind FBC when I was a mere pup so maybe there's hope the churches would be kind enough to share space.
M.L. Awbrey and Sheppard's (including the improvements to their former location as well) have long been examples for the balance of downtown. Roanoke Telephone Company is due yet another tip of the tam for their building on Main. The Historical Museum could become a gem. There are a few others as well.
I'm not optimistic and yet there's still hope. I'm figuring that I'll be leaving the area sooner rather than later but I do hope downtown can catch a few breaks. There is too much potential for some of these old building to have them go to waste. Peace ... or War!