Business thrives in communities where there are opportunities for mixed use development. We see this in active commercial centers all around the city and the growth of downtown living, the success of Grandin Village, and the regeneration of Wasena. Roanoke should foster this enterprising spirit by reducing the cost of doing business in the city, supporting and promoting its local businesses, attracting new developments around improved infrastructure, and incentivizing small business incubation centers.
Peter also believes that we should build off the unique beauty and resources of our area by investing in eco-tourism to bring more visitors and businesses here to the valley. He is currently a member of the board of the Virginia Recreational Facilities Authority, where he is working with officials around the Valley to improve the Explore Park and increase our outdoor tourism offerings.
One of the largest functions of local government is to ensure that our children receive a world class education. The last recession hit education funding especially hard, yet access to quality education is one of the best indicators of future success for a child. We need to know that our programming is preparing students to succeed in a 21st century world. Creating school board districts or wards will make sure voices from all parts of the city are heard in the Roanoke City Public Schools administration. We must also encourage public/private/nonprofit partnerships to increase the availability of affordable Pre-K and afterschool programs for working families.
Housing is our most basic human need. Right now, we’re seeing cities across the nation face affordable housing crises due to shortsightedness and poor planning. We’ve learned some valuable lessons and have a better understanding of how communities thrive, and that’s through being connected--not isolated. Peter has shown his commitment to housing as Chair of the Roanoke Fair Housing Board, which is focused on equal opportunity for housing. Whether you want to rent or own, Peter will prioritize improving housing opportunity by incentivizing mixed-income housing that’s connected to job centers, improving our land bank program, and expanding down payment assistance programs.
Roanokers want to easily and safely live, work, and play within walking distance of their home. With the right planning, we can create more community centers where that’s possible. He will invest in our diverse neighborhoods and what makes each unique. Additionally, essential city services will be placed throughout the city in places people already congregate (schools, libraries, etc.) bringing the services you need closer to home.
True community is created when we all feel connected. Our infrastructure is what connects us all. Whether we’re using it to get to school or work, grow our business, or enjoy some recreation time, we need to know it’s accessible and reliable. As an economic planner, Peter has experience developing mobility networks that connect neighborhoods and cities to the world. Targeted upgrades to infrastructure can create big jumps in quality of life and economic development. Peter will work to develop our mobility network by connecting our different transportation options.
Peter believes a connected city is a thriving city. These days, transportation isn’t the only way to get where you’re going, sometimes you can get there virtually. That’s why we need to make sure every Roanoker has access to affordable, fast broadband internet. Peter will work with local service providers to try to reduce our high internet costs and make sure we are able to harness new 5G technologies here in the Valley. Additionally, Peter would like to see the city develop partnerships to develop its own network of low-cost internet that can be harnessed by those who can’t currently afford high-speed service.
You work hard and should be able to fully enjoy the fruits of your labor. Roanoke is a beautiful city with many recreational opportunities, and our natural beauty and resources should be protected so we can enjoy them for many years to come. Flooding has historically been a challenge, so creating parks and urban landscapes that mitigate runoff should be a priority, as well as promoting environmentally friendly building materials and practices.
Large swaths of Roanokers still live in a food desert, restricting their nutrition options. We can work to overcome this by working to attract supermarkets in underserved areas, supporting farmer’s markets and partnerships with organizations such as LEAP, and working with schools to provide healthy cooking and food education opportunities.
While we’ve made some strides, Roanoke’s poverty rate still hovers at 22%, meaning that we need more solutions to address the multi-dimensional effects of poverty. We can make targeted investments to essential services like healthcare, transportation, and internet access as well as working to ensure that people feel safe enough to get out and about in their neighborhoods. As a representative for Roanoke City on the Roanoke Valley - Alleghany Regional Commission, Peter has worked with elected officials throughout the region to solve some of our most pressing quality of life issues. Read more about what they’re up to here.