December 2021
City Opens Online Applications for the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Funding
Online grant applications are now open for the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding. Individuals, families, nonprofits, mental health service providers, substance abuse treatment, small businesses, and arts and cultural organizations may apply through the City of Roanoke. Specific ARPA funding has been dedicated for these initiatives, and applications will be evaluated ongoing. Please check back on the respective grant application deadlines. 
The following is a link to each application: 

For more information and to submit an application, visit If you have questions about the application process, please contact Angie O’Brien in the City Manager’s Office at 540-853-5309 or send an email to angela.o’
Shannon Farris, assistant professor at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC, recently received a $2-million National Institutes of Health grant to evaluate the molecular characteristics of the brain region that encodes social memories. (Photo by Clayton Metz for Virginia Tech)
Have you ever seen someone you recognized, but couldn’t recall their name or how you knew them?

As you strain to recollect the details, a pea-sized clump of neurons nestled in your hippocampus is working hard to connect the dots. This brain region, coined CA2, uniquely encodes social memories in mammals. Without it, mice can remember familiar inanimate objects – but not friends or foes they’d met before.

Now, with a five-year, $2-million National Institutes of Health grant, Shannon Farris, assistant professor at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC, is mapping out the diverse bioenergetic and molecular characteristics of CA2 neuronal circuits to learn more about how social memories are formed, stored, and forgotten.
Spotlight on Business -
Gatewood Rose
Your go to place for healthy and happy house plants.
Gatewood Rose is Roanoke's newest little houseplant shop. Located on Salem Ave, surrounded by murals, this little house plant shop has so much to offer! Gatewood Rose is your go to shop for unique houseplants, plant lover accessories, and the education you need to thrive with your plants. It is hard to miss this adorable striped building & darling patio. Owner Jessica Downs has been a plant enthusiast for as long as she can remember. She grew up helping her mother with house plants. "It was my Saturday morning chore, to water & prune the plants. Doing that really shaped me. I've never really lived without plant care being part of my routines." Jessica started Gatewood Rose in 2019 when she began sourcing houseplants for a local small business. She then started teaching workshops and doing pop ups in the Roanoke Valley. The pop ups were well received and Jessica began building her inventory, invested in a greenhouse, and saved up in hopes she would be able to have a brick and mortar space one day. In the summer of 2020 Gatewood Rose found its place! 

This little plant shop is a dream come true for me. I have put a lot of thought into creating this space and want it to be enjoyed by plant lovers in our area. The plants at Gatewood Rose are carefully selected and cared for daily until they find their forever homes. The selection is vast and is ideal for a range of plant parents. One thing that our team provides is the information you need to care for the plant. The team at Gatewood Rose is here to discuss your home environment, lighting, and level of care involved in bringing a particular plant home. Jessica also provides in-home assessments and can then help you find the right plants for your space, whether that is your office or home. She even offers scheduled plant care, wellness checks, and she is available to help with sick plants. 

Monthly, Gatewood Rose, has Plants & Pints events for the plant community to come together. We partner with our amazing neighbors, Golden Cactus Brewery, to do plant related activities. Each month Plants & Pints (pints are optional) has had a different theme. In the few months the shop has been open, we've done plant propagation swaps, created succulent planters, had tarot card readings, and painted terracotta pots. I really want this shop to be utilized by Roanoke's plant loving community to mingle, learn, and grow. In addition to Plants & Pints, Gatewood Rose hosts pop ups a few times each month. We aim to spotlight local, women owned, small businesses with these pop up events. Within the shop you can also find locally made pottery, jewelry, macrame, and suncatchers. Bringing local talent into the shop adds so much to the shopping experience. You can feel good about shopping small & shopping local. The shop is hosting it's biggest event on Sunday, December 12th. The Holiday Makers Market will take over the outdoor space stretching from Gatewood Rose on & into Golden Cactus. There will be 11 local artists/ makers, live music, and food from 12:00-4:00. This market is the perfect opportunity to find your loved ones unique gifts for the holiday season while supporting local vendors. 

If you haven't already, please check out Gatewood Rose and all it has to offer. Customers are raving about the shop's appearance & vibe, the beautiful healthy plants, as well as the experiences with the events and workshops. The shop is currently open Wednesday-Saturday 1:00-6:00 pm and Sundays 1:00-4:00 pm. Often there are extended hours for events, workshops,and pop ups. You can find all that information by following Gatewood Rose on social media @GatewoodRoseBotanicals on Instagram, Facebook, & Twitter. You can call with questions at 540-613-1089 or email at 
RAMP is pleased to announce that applications are now open for our Spring 2022 cohort focused on Health and Life Science startup companies. Click here to access the application!
Four Blacksburg- and Roanoke-based entrepreneurs working with machine intelligence, drone docking stations, healthcare credentialing, and thermal sensing were chosen to RAMP’s Fall 2021 Cohort focused on technology startups.

Learn more in the video below about Fall 2021 Technology Cohort ThermaSENSE Corp. from Founder Ali Roghani.

Blacksburg born and bred, Ali Roghani has earned undergraduate, graduate and Ph.D. degrees in engineering from Virginia Tech along with an MBA. In 2017, he founded ThermaSENSE Corp., which makes non-invasive “AccuTemp” sensors to measure the internal temperature of objects from the surface – such as insulated walls, water pipes, even live tissue – accurately and in real-time. As a result, AccuTemp has a number of applications in the agricultural, healthcare, and wearable technology sectors.
Featured BizLink
RND Coffee

Congratulations to brothers Quincy and Steffon Randolph, owners of Roanoke small business, RND Coffee...Roasters Next Door recently recognized as Drink Runner-Up in the Garden & Gun Made in the South Awards for 2021!
Digital Cities Survey 2021 Recognizes City of Roanoke
The Center for Digital Government (CDG) recently announced the winners of the 2021 Digital Cities Survey, recognizing cities utilizing technology to tackle social challenges, enhance services, strengthen cybersecurity, and more. The City of Roanoke was recognized among the top 10 cities in the 75,000-124,999 population category, and for its commitment and dedication to participating in the survey since it began in 2001.

“Innovative cities are able to leverage data and harness new technology to enhance the services they provide,” said CDG Vice President Phil Bertolini. “The Center for Digital Government congratulates this year’s winners for putting technology to good use toward improving the lives of constituents and strengthening the relationships they have with their partners.”

Bertolini added, “The City of Roanoke has incorporated the survey instrument into their annual strategic planning and has been honored for their participation and top 10 status every single year.”

The top 10-ranking cities in each of five population categories and the Future Ready Award winner will be honored during the 20th Anniversary Digital Cities Awards and Workshop event on Dec. 8.

“I am proud to have Roanoke recognized as a leader in technology,” said City Manager Bob Cowell. “Being named a Top Digital City demonstrates our ongoing commitment to offer quality services to citizens. I congratulate City staff on their efforts to maintain our continued success in this area.”
In case you didn't know...
Plastic Bag Tax Coming January 1, 2022
Legislation enacted during the Regular Session of the 2020 General Assembly (House Bill 534 (2020 Acts of Assembly, Chapter 1022) and Senate Bill 11 (2020 Acts of Assembly, Chapter 1023)) authorizes any county or city to adopt by ordinance the Virginia Disposable Plastic Bag Tax. The tax will be administered by the Virginia Department of Taxation. View legislation here

Beginning on January 1, 2022, a five-cent tax will be instituted on the sale of disposable plastic bags provided to customers in grocery stores, convenience stores, and drugstores in the City of Roanoke.
The holiday season is packed with fun festivals and special events in Virginia’s Blue Ridge.

Throughout the month of December, you can take part in local holiday celebrations, including festive parades, historic home tours, tree & light displays, and numerous performances & concerts.

For a complete guide to holiday-themed events in the region, click below!
Interested in a new job?

Virginia Tech is actively searching for essential positions. To learn more about available career opportunities, click below.
Don't forget...BizRoanoke is on RVTV Channel 3!
BizRoanoke is a monthly television program highlighting economic activity, business highlights and programs within the City of Roanoke.

Tune into RVTV Channel 3 to learn more or access it through our website at

Check out our latest show at Gatewood Rose below!
The City of Roanoke Department of Economic Development is on Facebook and Instagram! Please "like" or "follow" us today!
Check it Out!

City Owned Available Property
The City of Roanoke has a variety of properties available for acquisition, including existing buildings (as available) and buildable sites. Proposals for these properties must be approved by Council and must be submitted to the City of Roanoke Department of Economic Development. 

For more information on available properties and the proposal process, please visit the links below:

Downtown Roanoke, Inc. Launches New Holiday Gift Guide
Downtown Roanoke, Inc. is excited to share the first Downtown Roanoke Holiday Gift Guide featuring gift ideas from over 20 downtown businesses. The goal in producing this guide is to make it easier to shop local this holiday season.

The guide will create awareness of the great shops in downtown Roanoke to individuals who live in the region and may not have recently visited the fantastic retail mix offered to shoppers. The guide will help plug the knowledge gap and sell people on shopping downtown.
The holiday shopping season officially kicked off Saturday, November 27th with Small Business Saturday and continues along with the lighting of the City of Roanoke Christmas Tree, The Roanoke Times Dickens of a Christmas festivities, ice skating, putt-putt golf and more!
Upcoming Training and Events
Maury Strauss Distinguished Public Lecture
Presented by the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC
Thursday, December 16, 2021
5:30 pm
Transforming Prenatal Screening: From New Technologies to Gender Reveal Parties
Watch this lecture live via Zoom, or on our Live Webcast page
Director, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
Head, Prenatal Genomics and Therapy Section for the Medical Genetics Branch
National Human Genome Research Institute
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, Md.
Elected Member of the National Academy of Medicine
Employee Retention Tax Credit
  • Wednesday, December 8, 2021
  • 10:00 AM  11:00 AM

Smart Start
  • Tuesday, December 14, 2021
  • 4:00 PM  7:00 PM
For additional events, workshops and resources, click here!