Successful Downtown

Who Is Crozet? That's What We're Aiming to Answer

Who Is Crozet? That's What We're Aiming to Answer

As Crozet evolves, it is important to communicate a clear and distinct identity that celebrates the unique characteristics and future goals of the community. Who is Crozet, and what do we want it to become? Those are two important questions we plan to tackle in the coming months. And, we’re asking for the community’s help.

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?

10 Guiding Principles for a Successful Downtown

Photo by The Crozet Gazette. 

Photo by The Crozet Gazette. 

These are the guiding principles we ask everyone to strive to adhere to as we work together to grow the heart of Downtown Crozet.

1.     Be Authentic. Development that is true to the nature of Crozet: eclectic, small town. Honor and draw on historic precedents but don’t try to copy things that can’t be reproduced.

2.     Be Environmentally Responsible.  Barnes Lumber is an industrial brownfield that needs to be remediated before it can be redeveloped. 

3.    Create Reasons and Places for Community to Gather.  That’s what town centers are all about.

4.     Honor Pedestrians and Bicyclists.  Most of Downtown Crozet is neither bike nor pedestrian friendly. That needs to change for downtown to be successful.  

5.     Seek Connectivity Wherever Possible.  For downtown businesses to be successful, people need to be able to get to them. 

6.     Be Flexible.  Needs and wants evolve over time. Maintain flexibility to take advantage of future opportunities. That doesn’t mean we have to compromise our other principles.

7.     Be Inclusive and Affordable.  Create affordable opportunities for local business to locate and grow in downtown. Create a variety of housing opportunities walkable to downtown. Focus on higher density in the core.

8.     Be Mindful of the Market. Understand and capitalize on Crozet’s strengths, but be realistic about what’s possible now. We have to build buildings that satisfy some market demand or downtown will fail.  

9.     Work Together.  Building downtown is an enormous challenge and without the strong support of the Crozet community and Albemarle County, it won’t happen.  We’ll need to build trust, consensus, enthusiasm and commitment before we can build roads and buildings.

10. Be Resourceful and Proactive.  Don’t assume that good things will happen if we wait long enough. Good things happen when good people make them happen.  Crozet has a new library and downtown streetscape because Crozetians made it happen. If we want good businesses to come to Crozet, let’s figure out what it will take to get them there and then do it. If we want high quality civic space in downtown, let’s figure out what it should look like, what it will cost and how we can pay for it. Then let’s make it happen!

Is there anything missing from this list that you'd like to add? Any thoughts on the current list you'd like to share?