Stanardsville Streetscape Enhancement
Several years ago, VDOT awarded *STAR* federal grants totaling $674,000 for streetscape enhancements in Stanardsville. With the required 20% match donated by local government and individuals, a total of $843,000 was available for these improvements that were completed at the end of 2013. The new streescape includes five-foot wide sidewalks with a brick band; red brick-patterned crosswalks; colonial-style street lights; benches, bike rack, and trash receptacles; stone-facade retaining walls; land-scaped bump-outs; trees and other landscaping.
Location: The principal streetscape improvements were made in a three-block area of Main Street stretching about 900 feet in the heart of downtown Stanardsville, from Celt Road to Rectory Lane. The other part of the project provided two new crosswalks west of town between the school complex and the shopping center, including connecting sidewalks, stairs, and pavement markings over an area about 700 feet long.
Sidewalks: Five-foot wide sidewalks have been constructed on Main Street, with a redbrick band along the curbside. Where necessary, significant demolition and grading lowered existing sidewalks to street level, and retaining walls have been built in certain areas on the north side of the eastern-most block. Handicap ramps have been installed at every corner to accommodate the needs of the elderly and handicapped individuals.
Crosswalks: Redbrick-style crosswalks have been constructed at Ford Avenue in the center of Town, at Blakey Avenue, and at Celt Road. The process required application of new asphalt that was stamped in a brick pattern and painted red to create safe and well-defined crosswalks.
Curb Extensions: There are six landscaped bump-outs on the south side of Main Street. Two are islands unconnected to the sidewalk at either end of the project area. Two at Ford and two at Blakey Avenue are true curb extensions and include handicap ramps. These bump-outs are intended to help slow traffic and define curbside parking.
Streetlights: 22 colonial-style streetlights have been installed, 12-feet tall, with full cut-off capability. They are designed to illuminate only the sidewalk area along Main Street. “Cobra” overhead streetlights affixed to utility poles have been removed.
Benches, Bike Rack, Trash Receptacles: Three iron benches, 6-feet long, have been
Landscaping: Four shade trees and two ornamental trees have been planted, plus 200 evergreen shrubs and hundreds of perennials on bump-outs and at parking lot corners.
Status: The streetscape project received its final okay from VDOT on April 25, 2013, and construction began around mid-August. The project was substantially completed in December, with a few minor additions when weather permitted this past winter.
Phase II of the Stanardsville Streetscape Enhancement project is funded in part by a grant awarded by VDOT in 2014 under the MAP-21 Transportation Alternatives Program. A Selection Committee is currently evaluating proposals submitted by interested engineering firms to provide design and administrative services for the Phase II streetscape improvements to extend the sidewalk network on either end of Town.
Specifically, Phase II involes constructing a five-foot wide sidewalk west from Celt Road to connect with the existing sidewalk at Pioneer Bank, and to construct a new sidewalk east from Rectory Lane, also on the north side, to Madison Road. The current project provides construction fees for the west sidewalk extension only, since that segment of the roadway is frequently and unsafely used by pedestrians walking to the schools or the shopping center. The total project cost is approximately $436,000, requiring a local match of about $87,000. Construction of the west end extension will be included in a subsequent grant application due November 1, 2015.
Community Safety Initiative
*STAR* has been actively involved in an effort begun in 2012 under the leadership of Commonwealth’s Attorney Ron Morris to engage the community in determining how best to improve public safety in the Stanardsville area. The Stanardsville Area Community Safety Initiative (SACSI) held several pubic forums, with up to 100 people participating, and organized a Steering Committee to investigate further steps to promote public safety. *STAR*’s Executive Director is a member of that Steering Committee, and arranged for *STAR* to serve as the conduit for donations to support SACSI’s activities.
One major theme emerging from these meetings was that the county’s youth have few options for after-school activities due primarily to the lack of any comprehensive youth development program. Consequently, SACSI identified after-school and summer youth activities as the highest priority need for enhancing public safety in the community, particularly for disadvantaged youth.
To work toward the goal of establishing a youth development program, the SACSI Steering Committee, with *STAR*’s assistance, formed the Youth Development Council of Greene County as a nonprofit corporation. Its mission is two-fold: to ensure existing youth programs are used to the fullest extent, and to address the areas of greatest need for youth development. YDC’s ultimate goal is to facilitate development of an everyday after-school and summer program that provides opportunities for Greene County youth that will enhance their academic, social, personal, and character development.
YDC’s initial effort was to enable young people in the Stanardsville area to participate in a summer camp program in 2013 offered by the Charlottesville Boys & Girls Club. It organized a similar summer camp program in 2014 at facilities offered by Spring Hill Baptist Church, and is doing so again at various locations in 2015. YDC has also inaugurated a two-day a week after school program for under-served youth in the county.
The Public Safety Foundation, organized in 2013 and headed by *STAR* board member, Carl Schmitt, is also undertaking efforts to promote community safety with the active participation of the Sheriff’s Office. For example, it raised funds to purchase Crisis Kits for school classrooms, helped fund the Sheriff Office’s Kid Kard child identity program, and has provided volunteer and financial assistance to the YDC summer camp project. *STAR* helped establish the group as a nonprofit organization and the Executive Director serves as its Treasurer.
Stanardsville Town Council Projects
*STAR* works directly with the Mayor and Town Council on a number of activities, and provides pro bono assistance whenever requested to help the Town Council fulfill its responsibilities. It is currently working on the following projects:
Truck Restriction — VDOT recently denied the Town’s request to ban through tractor-trailers on Main Street, on grounds that trucks cannot safely make a right turn from Rte. 33 Business onto Rte. 230. The Town’s objective, however, is that tractor-trailers stay on Rte. 29 and the Bypass, rather than use Rte. 230 as a shortcut. With *STAR*’s assistance, the Mayor and the County Administrator sent a letter to VDOT in 2014 asking that they recommend that through tractor-trailers use Rtes. 29 and 33 and post “Truck Route” signs for that purpose. VDOT agreed and posted those signs at appropriate locations.
Town Seal / Banners — The Art Guild of Greene, which was awarded a $6,000 grant from the Town in 2012, was asked by the Town Council to help design a Town Seal, as well as “Welcome to Stanardsville” banners to hang from the new lampposts on Main Street. Thanks to the efforts of local artist, Chee Ricketts, a Town Seal featuring the Courthouse has been adopted by the Town Council. Similarly, local artist and Art Guild board member, Sue Stover, designed a welcome banner. The Art Guild purchased banners which now hang on half of the town’s new lampposts.
Sister City — The Town Council agreed with *STAR*’s suggestion in 2013 to pursue a sister-city relationship with Tarland, Scotland, focusing on the commonalities between the two small towns and our cultural identity and mountain heritage, especially the Scots-Irish influence on bluegrass music. In a first step toward that end, the Town has paid dues to become a member of Sister Cities International in order to take full advantage of its instructional materials and eventually apply for grant support. The Mayor views this enterprise as a potential boon to tourism and has asked *STAR*, working with the Art Guild, to determine the process required to formally establish a sister-city relationship with Tarland.
VDOT Highway Business Signs — VDOT has imposed stringent regulations and excessive costs on businesses wishing to place their logos on highway signs. This disadvantages small businesses and small towns that are bypassed by state highways. *STAR*, on behalf of the Town, is working with the Governor’s office, local business owners, and others in an effort to modify those regulations in a way that will benefit small businesses that cannot afford the costs of such advertising.
Town Website — *STAR*, working with Chad Denby of Web Weaving and Consultants, has established a website for the town, primarily to promote the Town’s businesses and help its efforts to attract new businesses and tourists to the Stanardsville area. *STAR*’s Executive Director has volunteered to help organize and maintain the website.
“Restoring its Vitality . . . Retaining its Charm . . . Helping its People”
*STAR*’s leadership is involved in a number of other activities with the goal of making the Stanardsville area a better place to live, work and raise a family. In particular, its president, Don Pamenter, is actively engaged in efforts to promote business development and tourism in Greene County as a board member and officer of the Economic Development Authority. He also serves on the board of the Greene Care Health Clinic and previously served as a Greene County representative to the Jefferson Area Board for Aging. Similarly, Stanardsville Mayor Gary Lowe is a valued member of the* STAR* Board of Directors and works closely with its leadership to achieve our common goals.