Roanoke vs. Salem: Competition By Any Other Name

starIt’s one of the first things I heard when I moved to Roanoke three years ago:  “You’ve got to check out the high school football stadium in Salem, it’s gorgeous!”   Up until that point I really wasn’t understanding how Salem and Roanoke were seperate entities. 

Three years later I still don’t.  salem2Let’s look at the numbers (census 2000) :  Roanoke City POPULATION 94,911   Salem POPULATION 24,747.  Two BIG towns that perhaps, if they combined resources would be able to get more stuff acccomplished (though it appears Salem sure doesn’t need any help in that department from neighboring Roanoke). 

Roanoke, affectionately called the “Star City”, has been upstaged quite a bit lately in the news.  The “powers that be” must be cringing over the recent announcement  by Salem’s local government to build an amphitheater – ultimately beating Roanoke to the punch. 

Yes, Yes we’ve heard…scale wise, it won’t be as impressive as the plan Roanoke had envisioned…but they’re getting it done.  Not long after news broke about that, another developing story.  News7 uncovered the National Guard Armory plans to close up shop in Roanoke .  Then, low and behold, Salem (at least the former mayor) is offering them a home there. 

Coincidence or Competition?  It’ll be interesting what comes up next in this saga I call “The Tale of Two Towns”.


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