Community

Etiquette to being a Good Neighbor.

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1.     Welcoming Committee

You don’t have to enlist the help of a formal welcoming committee, but it’s simple and easy to make a new family feel welcomed to the neighborhood. Stop by to introduce yourself and your family (and even your pets!) and consider exchanging phone numbers (or email addresses). Bring a small dish or bouquet of fresh flowers to make their likely-bare new home feel lived in. Ask the new family if they would like recommendations for utilities providers, doctors, dentists, vet’s office or anywhere else. If you are willing and able, offer to host a dinner/cookout once they are settled so they can meet with other neighbors.

 

2.     Maintain Curb Appeal

No one wants to have the house that drags down the value of all other homes on the street. Be conscientious of maintaining your lawn and landscaping, at least to the same level as the rest of the neighborhood. This includes mowing the lawn, trimming bushes and trees, keeping clutter at bay (or at least not visible to neighbors), and correcting any home maintenance or safety issues that are especially visible. You’ll appreciate a well-manicured lawn and tidy home appearance from your neighbors as well!

 

3.     Respectful of Outdoor Noise

Chances are, you checked out many neighborhoods before settling on the home you are moving into. You should have a good idea of the demographics/backgrounds of the types of people who live in your new neighborhood. Make sure that you maintain respect when hosting gatherings or parties, whether it be during the daytime or in the evening. Ask guests to park in your driveway or in front of your house so as not to block neighbors parking. Try to keep noise to a minimum when a party lasts late into the evening. And, when possible, just invite the neighbors to attend!

 

4.     Go the extra Mile

Does your neighborhood have an HOA? Do you own pets? Make sure you know and follow any HOA rules that apply to your community. Be responsible with your pets, ensuring that you clean up after them and follow any/all leash laws in your city. If you have an issue with a neighbor, try to first discuss it with that person. Don’t be the neighborhood gossip. Respect your neighbor’s property and their belongings. Lend a helping hand when you can.

Family Fun in Crozet, VA

WildRock in Crozet

From early spring to late fall, Wildrock welcomes the public on Wednesday and Saturday by reservation to enjoy a one-of-a-kind local nature and wildlife experience.  The entry fee is "pay what you can” and guests are invited to walk the discovery trail with a self-guided "trail adventure" back pack, explore whimsical and imaginative play zones on the playscape, enjoy Easy Camping Overnights, or sign-up for specialty classes or day treks into the Blue Ridge foothills. This is an experience your kids will never forget!

 

Think fresh, crisp apples picked straight from the orchard. Think juicy, sweet peaches at their prime ripeness alongside peach butter and peach preserves. Visit Chiles Peach Orchard and experience the joy of farming while indulging in the freshest, locally-grown produce. Pick your own fruit, shop in the orchard shop and bring home local goods for the whole family to enjoy.

 

Looking for something fun to outdoors on a Sunday? King Family Vineyards hosts polo matches on Sundays between Memorial Day Weekend and mid-October. Matches last 2 hours and there is plenty of fun to be had for the whole family! Kids are invited onto the field between matches to stomp divets, staff drive around in golf carts with bottles of wine available for purchase, and patrons can park wherever they like around the polo field while bringing all their favorite creature comforts. It’s fun to be had for all!

 

Open all year round, Mint Springs Valley Park features 520 acres where you can enjoy trails fishing, boating and numerous playgrounds. Pack a lunch and utilize the picnic tables, grills and shelters throughout the park. If you are looking to simply explore the beauty that is Crozet, this would be an excellent place for your whole family to spend a day!

 

In the mood for some casual pizza? Crozet Pizza is well known around the central Virginia area. It opened in 1977 when the Crum family renovated an old building that had been unoccupied for years. For the thirty-one years that Bob and Karen Crum operated the family-run business, they hand made every single pizza. Their daughter now runs the historical restaurant and guarantees fun, a history lesson, and the best pizza you’ll find in Crozet!

 

Last, but certainly not least, is the abundance of local vineyards and breweries that pepper the beautiful county around Crozet. Starr Hill Brewery and Pro Re Nata Farm Brewery feature family friendly events year round. Stinson Vineyards, Grace Estate Winery and White Hall Vineyards boast incredible views, a beautiful atmosphere (inside and outside) and plenty of local history and wines to enoy.

 

Photo Credit: Christina Snow, Crozet, Va/Wildrock

LESSONS FROM AMERICA'S GREATEST PUBLIC SPACE

 Jacob & Liza Stoner in Central Park January 23, 2016

Jacob & Liza Stoner in Central Park January 23, 2016

I spent the weekend with my family in New York City last weekend and had the good fortune to witness the largest 1 day snowfall ever recorded in Central Park.  Sunday afternoon, thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people of all ages were out enjoying the snow.  We heard at least 5 different languages and I've never seen a more creative assortment of snow men, women and children.  People were sledding on all manner of flat bottomed objects and there were shrieks of joy and laughter everywhere.  Snow has magical powers; we know that.  But great spaces can have the same effect and the scene sparked my curiosity about the history of Central Park and what lessons might actually apply to our public plaza in Crozet.  Here's what I learned about the history of the park:

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  1. The park, established in 1857 on 778 acres at what was then the north end of the City. It was designed by Fredrick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux.  The park was not part of the original master plan for Manhattan; it was added some 30 years after the master plan was completed. 
  2. The park was under the control of local government and inadquate resources were dedicated to the ongoing maintenance of the park.  Consequently, the park quickly slipped into a first period of decline from the 1870's until 1934.  In that year, management of the park was restructured and a single individual, Robert Moses, was empowered to manage the park restoration.
  3. Again, in the early 1960's the park began a serious decline and it wasn't until citizen volunteers stepped in the late 70's to save the park that good things began to happen. In 1979, management of the park was restructured again and control was given to a citizen based board of directors.  What followed was a large scale public/private partnership that raised money for the restoration of the park and then actually built an endowment to support maintenance of the park in perpetuity.  

So what can the history of this iconic American park teach us about building a downtown plaza/park in Crozet?  Here are some initial thoughts:

  • Plans can, should, and will evolve over time.  
  • The size should be in scale with the buildings around it, it's purpose in the community, and the number of people we envision using the space.
  • Don't count on local government to build or maintain the park or, in time,  you're likely to be disappointed.
  • Citizen involvement is essential in every aspect of design and implementation of public space.
  • Effective management of public space is critical.
  • Maintenance costs should be considered during the design process and adequately funded from day one.

Please share stories, thoughts and ideas about this important community asset that's coming to downtown Crozet.

Thanks!

Frank Stoner

Get Involved with the Downtown Crozet Initiative

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The Downtown Crozet Initiative Steering Committee is a volunteer organization whose primary goal is to promote economic vitality downtown and advocate on behalf of the Crozet community for the creation of a new central plaza/park area on the Barnes Lumber property. The group is working with the developer, Crozet New Town Associates/Milestone Partners, the county, local business owners and residents/land owners in Crozet to help plan, gather community input and determine resources needed for the design and construction of the plaza area.

The group meets monthly, typically at the Crozet Library. Anyone is welcome to attend and observe these meetings; they are open to the public. Specifically, the committee is seeking Crozetians who have experience with or are currently:

o   Urban design/planning

o   Landscape architecture

o   Construction

o   Grant writing

o   Fundraising

o   Local/downtown business owners

o   Parkside Village residents

o   Claudius Crozet Park board members

More information about the Steering Committee can be found on this page. 

The next meeting is scheduled for Jan. 7, at 12 p.m. at the Crozet Library.

If you are interested in becoming an active member of this group, please email us at info@downtowncrozetinitiative.com

More Exciting News for Downtown Crozet: Piedmont Place Coming Soon!

 Photo courtesy of Charlottesville Tomorrow.

Photo courtesy of Charlottesville Tomorrow.

Drew Holzwarth and his wife, Michelle, will be breaking ground soon on a new development in downtown Crozet. Piedmont Place will be located across Library Avenue from Crozet Library and will lead to the Barnes Lumber property. The four-story, 28,000 sq-ft structure will have a restaurant with a patio on its terrace level and Piedmont Place Market, a court of food-related businesses similar to West Main Market in Charlottesville, on the main floor. Apartments will be located on the two floors above the market, and the fourth floor will include a sky bar restaurant with panoramic views.

Drew recently presented his plans for the building to the Crozet Community Advisory Committee (CCAC). The project is currently awaiting approval from the County's Architectural Review Board, which should take place in November. Construction could start soon thereafter.

Additional details about Piedmont Place can be found in this recent Crozet Gazette article.

How Do We Create a Successful, Vibrant Downtown Crozet? The Case for a Public/Private Partnership

 Photo by The Daily Progress. The Crozet Library Book Brigade. 

Photo by The Daily Progress. The Crozet Library Book Brigade. 

Community meetings have reinforced the importance of creating a vibrant downtown Crozet.  Residents were encouraged to “think big,” and they did. Bold ideas were put forth for a well-connected, gridded network of streets and bike/pedestrian facilities, parking structures, and high-quality civic space. People also reiterated the need for more quality employment opportunities in downtown. The big question is: how can we as a community help make it happen?

It was clear at the public meetings that local businesses are a top priority. In order to attract and support local businesses, the cost of the commercial space must be affordable for them. In order for it to be affordable, there will need to be a partnership between the developer, property owners, the Crozet community and Albemarle County. Each partner will have an important role to play. The county needs an effective economic development plan to attract businesses. It also needs to assist with some of the infrastructure that won’t be built without public participation. Developers and private property owners need to attract private investment capital and meet requirements of the banks that provide development loans. The community can serve as a channel for both public and philanthropic funds that may be available to help bridge the remaining gap. Community-wide support and input for the development also is vital. Success for all parties will require trust, transparency and steadfast commitment to a shared vision that creates real opportunities for businesses, property owners and the Crozet community.  

This idea is not a new one. In fact, it has been used in many mixed-use developments across the nation. Gary Okerlund, a local architect with Okerlund Associates and a faculty member of the University of Virginia's School of Architecture, wrote a 4-page paper outlining the process that citizens, developers and local government should take to ensure that community revitalization projects are a success. He says that in order for projects like Barnes Lumber to have long-term success, full citizen involvement is crucial. You can read more about this article here