Public plaza

Hiring a Landscape Architecture Firm for the Downtown Crozet Plaza

One of the focal points of the development of downtown Crozet will be the outdoor plaza area. In April, we heard from some of you on the DCI Facebook page about what you'd like to see in this space. Shaded areas, a splash park, an outdoor play area, public benches, and a mixture of green space and hardscape were some ideas we received. 

The developer, Frank Stoner of Milestone Partners/Crozet New Town Associates, is dedicating a minimum of 28,000 sq-ft for this space. The space will be developed through a combination of grants, private donations, and money from the county. In a recent article in Charlottesville Tomorrow, Frank stated that he doesn't want to start buildings without a clear plan for the plaza because the plaza is such an important catalyst to attracting businesses, restaurants and retailers to downtown. 

Last month, Frank sent a Request for Proposal (RFP) to local and regional landscape architecture firms asking for proposals for the design of this civic space/plaza. Five firms responded. Frank and five members of the DCI, CCA, CCAC and Crozet Board of Trade plan to interview these firms next week. 

Members of the community are invited to attend and observe the interviews; however, questions and comments during the actual interviews will be left to the six-person panel. If you plan to attend, we ask that you arrive on time, as access will be restricted after the interviews start. The interviews will take place at the Crozet Library on the following dates/times:

June 15: Interviews at 1 p.m. (Waterstreet Studio) and 2 p.m. (Timmons Group)

June 16: Interviews at 1 p.m. (Mahan Rykiel), 2 p.m. (Land Planning & Design Associates) and 3 p.m. (Nelson Byrd Woltz)

A firm will be selected later this month and should have design concepts to review by early Fall. The community will be asked to help select the final design. 

We'd like your input

What questions would you like to ask these landscape architecture firms? What characteristics are most important in awarding this project to a firm? Is it budget? The firm's vision for the space? Creativity? Experience with similar projects? You can leave a question or comment in the comment section of this post. You may also send an email to Please offer your thoughts by Monday, June 13. We look forward to hearing from you! 



The Five Features of Great Public Spaces

Riverwalk. San Antonio, TX. Photo Credit:

Riverwalk. San Antonio, TX. Photo Credit:

The creation of a public park/plaza area in the Barnes Lumber redevelopment is a main focus of the Downtown Crozet Initiative. The group is providing feedback on aspects such as the location and design of the space and also is working to identify and apply for grants for funding. Of course, the main goal of the DCI for the public park/plaza area is to create a dynamic space that will serve many purposes for the community. Ideally, this space will host community events and will be a central location for members of the community to gather on a regular basis. 

So what makes a public space attractive for communities? In a blog post on, the author highlights five features of vibrant public spaces that he's observed in his experience as an economic development advisor and urban planner. In his opinion, a successful public park includes these characteristics:

  1. They are small.
  2. They are surrounded by diversity.
  3. They mix public and private together.
  4. They are centrally located.
  5. They are designed to attract people.

Check out the blog post in full and let us know your thoughts. Agree? Disagree? Have anything to add?