Henry Street, La Gaffe (06/14/06)

The map is from Event Zone (formerly Festival in the Park.)  Is Gainsboro going to be known for no more than overflow parking for downtown Roanoke events?  This historic neighborhood actually predates Big Lick (the former name of the Star City.)

Just got a call from Gainsboro neighborhood activist Evelyn Bethel that City Council is about to hear the street closings in the vicinity of Henry Street.  For a map of the area to be closed,  see my previous entries of May 16, 2006.  For background on the rezoning, see  September 5, 2005, and August 31, 2005.  Below is my letter to the Mayor, copy sent to the editorial page at the Roanoke Times.  Won’t you considere writing your own letter?

“The Honorable C. Nelson Harris, Mayor ” <mayor@roanokeva.gov>

As you remember, I appeared before Council September 19, 2005 and described how during past decades Roanoke took land from Gainsboro landowners by eminent
domain. The City promised to make ammends by developing a Village Center on Henry Street with retail space to serve the community and educational, cultural and historic resources to attract visitors.
First the City announced plans to build the new Social Security office there.  Then you failed to amend the zoning code as promised in the Gainsboro Neighborhood plan and in fact zoned the area as Downtown.  Now you are considering the closing of streets, which will cut Henry Street off further from the surrounding neighborhood.
Six members of the Planning Commission agree that this is a bad plan.  Will City Council accept the advice of your Planning Commission or ignore it?
Roanoke is supposed to be a city of neighborhoods.  This kind of treatment of one neighborhood affects morale city-wide.  Gainsboro could be an asset, if the City would not repeat the past mistakes of urban renewal.
Sadly, I am out of town, or I would make these comments at your meeting.  If you have any questions, please feel free to call me on my cell phone at 540-xxx-xxxx
Thank you for your kind attention to this matter. 

CC: karen.trout@roanoke.com


By the way, greetings from New Lexox Public Librar y on the Commons  (just east fo Joliet, IL, named after Juliet, as in Romeo &, but mispelled and forever after mistakenly assumed to be named after the explorer.  (As a poor speller, I can identify, although none of my gaffes have been so momentous. )

By the way, did you know that La Gaffe is the name of a French restaurant operated in the UK by an Italian draft dodger  in the UK?

In order to escape military service, Bernardo Stella left Italy during the torrid heat wave that was engulfing Italy during the summer of 1957. He travelled to England and found the cooler, green fields of Kent re-energising. He had found his Eden. …

After much looking for the right establishment, on March the 5th 1962, they opened their business in Hampstead in a building that was once the site of a shepherd’s cottage dating back to 1734. And here we have the Genesis of “La Gaffe”, meaning the mistake. The name arose from the reasoning that for a Cypriot and an Italian to open a French restaurant in north-west London could only be a “Gaffe”.



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