Happy Birthday – Roanoke Center

Published 9:06 am Friday, May 1, 2009

RICH SQUARE — Together we can…and for the past five years the Roanoke Center has made that mantra a reality.

On Tuesday, partners, members and supporters of Roanoke Electric Cooperative (REC) gathered to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Roanoke Center.

Guests were treated to a presentation of the center’s history and objectives, a luncheon and a tour of the facility.

The Roanoke Center has become a vital business and technology telecenter for the entire Northeast region. It mainly serves businesses and residents of Bertie, Gates, Hertford, Northampton and Halifax counties.

In its five years of existence, the center has had more than a $6.2 million economic impact and 191 jobs have been created. The Roanoke Center has also earned awards, including the NRECA National Community award twice and GlaxoSmithKline Innovation award.

According to REC Vice President and Chief Executive Officer Curtis Wynn, the Roanoke Center has played an important role in enhancing the quality of life for citizens in the community.

“The Roanoke Center is the result of a ten-year-old initiative spearheaded primarily by Roanoke Economic Development, Inc., (REDI) a non-profit subsidiary of Roanoke Electric Cooperative, in collaboration with organizations and many of the agencies that made up the Roanoke Chowan Partners for Progress (RCPP), to support sustainable economic development in the region,” said Wynn in his presentation.

On April, 26, 2004 the center opened its doors to work with existing organizations and focus on increasing jobs and income opportunities, building the capacities of local small businesses, non profit organizations, community-based organizations and individuals, promoting and facilitating the use of technology, helping youth stay in school and prepare for life and building wealth in the region.

Roanoke Center Director Diana Mitchell said the center offers an array of services to citizens and businesses.

“The center has made a difference individualized cost savings,” she said.

Some of those cost saving services include administrative tasks like notary, copying and faxing services.

Mitchell said the services offered by the center focus on four core program areas: financial literacy, workforce development, business development and construction and related services.

The Roanoke Center also offers a micro-enterprise loan site, grant writing courses, computer training, meeting space, office rental and public internet access.

On a larger scale, in the past the center administered the Hurricane Floyd Crisis Housing Assistance project, managed a poverty study in Gates County for MDC and Duke University, launched a financial literacy program and managed and assisted in workforce development projects.

For more information about the Roanoke Center visit www.roanokecenter.org.