The Benefits of Small Town Growth
Since the late 90’s and early 2000’s, Crozet has come to be a choice location for families in Albemarle County. With the area wineries, festivals, amazing restaurants, boutiques and family day outings around local farms and playgrounds, it is no surprise that the area has attracted more residential growth than any other area of the County. As the community continues to grow, many feel anxiety over the impacts of growth and fear losing the small town charm. While unmanaged growth can be detrimental, managed growth can provide meaningful benefits for the whole community:
Economic Benefits: As Crozet grows and adds more places in which a business can operate, there will naturally be an increase in tax revenue for the County. These dollars can then be allocated for schools, services, maintenance and capital improvements. Here’s an interesting fact about Crozet: Growth has been largely upper income families. Median household income in Crozet went from being among the lowest in the County to the highest (over $80K per year). This creates economic opportunity because people have disposable income to spend. From a tax perspective, higher incomes mean higher value homes, more tax revenue to fund additional services and school growth.
More specialty restaurants, shops and service providers are in demand for the area. Peidmont Place, opening in late 2016 has been fully leased since opening and businesses are thriving. In a fairly recent DCI Facebook post, we asked our page followers about this very topic. From that post, it was insightful to learn that there were several people that suggested Crozet needed a new bakery (with donuts), a dog grooming facility, a work space, and even drive thru coffee! Having more business, means more jobs and more demand for products and services.
Social benefits: Growth can help improve the educational opportunities for all residents. Growth can bring good restaurants, breweries, wineries, and cultural events.
Cultural Benefits: Crozet has attracted talented people with big ideas and refined cultural tastes. They create vitality and enrich lives through creative expression. Crozet is now home to more than 130 artisans! It has its own orchestra, a ballet school, a chorus and a theatre group.
Recreational Benefits: Crozet has always been attractive for outdoor recreation and growth has fueled the creation of new recreational venues and opportunities. The expansion of Claudius Crozet Park, a new park in Old trail, the Patricia Ann Byrom Forest Preservation park in Whitehall, preservation of the Crozet Tunnel as a tourist attraction, Polo at King Family Vineyard, Wild Rock Childrens’ nature play park are expanding an already rich outdoor culture in Crozet.
Growth is now helping support new development in downtown, an area that’s been largely left behind during Crozet’s growth boom. Milestone Partners development plans for downtown will bring new businesses, new jobs, new retail, hotel and restaurant opportunities. Perrone Robotics has already moved into downtown and brought 17 new jobs that could grow to more than 100 in the next few years. Plans for a civic plaza will solidify downtown as the the heart and soul of Crozet. The plaza will be a pedestrian focused place for socializing, entertainment, dining, and relaxing. Residents can create new relationships and perhaps start new family traditions. Many towns in Virginia are struggling to survive and would do anything to attract the kind of growth that Crozet is experiencing. The reality is that Crozet has much to be thankful for and thoughtful growth is one of them.