Results of the “What Should become of the Crozet Library” Poll

Thanks, all for the responses. I’m going to be in meetings and coaching soccer until the CCA meeting tonight, so I’ll try to update this again just prior to the meeting

The “other” responses are below. Winner of “other” – Train station.

Updated - 17 September 2013 at 7:27am

(updated 13 September around 3:30pm)

Honestly, I’m shocked that so many want a police substation on one of the major entrance corridors to Crozet.

Update: Mostly great comments and debate at the RealCrozetVA facebook entries.

One post
Other post

Highlights for me:

A link to a scientific study of the merits of a police station in a community
I think that the old Crozet library is a building with a prominent and central location in Crozet and a long and much-loved history and that it should be used in a way that allows members of the public to continue to enjoy it, such as a community center or a local (or natural) history museum. I think it would be a shame to turn such a beautiful and historic building into a police station (which could be housed in any building) and that it would be a waste of money to renovate it for that purpose, when it could be used as is for a more community-minded function.

Some of the better “other” responses:

– Store, restaurant, cafe, or tourist spot, something that generates pedestrian and commercial traffic. Police station is waste of good real estate.

– Bodo’s

– Shooting range

– Train stop/depot (this idea garnered 20 responses)

– Museum

– Local history museum / community center

– A Diner that serves awesome breakfast and lunch!!!

– Seems large enough to accommodate a history/tourism center and a restaurant

– historical museum / small store ( i think there could be room for both

– Open to commercial bids

– Art coop similar to McGuffey

– Smoothie and sandwich deli

– Anything but a police station 🙂

– Not a police station. Their station is in their cars.

– Not police – something thatt enhances the economic revitalization of downtown crozet – I support the police but this is not the appropriate location

– NO to police…do we want to scare all the tourist away? Why do we need a place for police to hang out and what message is that sending about our community? A speciality shop, community center of sorts..parking a bit of issue so put some creative minds together after you kill the police station idea.

– A teen community center – they need places to go at night that are chaperoned!

– police and satellite office for other county services such as Social Services, Health Dept. county Clerk and so on.

– police said they need it a substation more on 29 N – then put it there first don’t do a grab for the space just because its there

If you want to see all of the raw results, please request to share the document.

Update 17 September 2013 – for those not on the Facebook, these are most of the comments from those discussions.

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28 Replies to “Results of the “What Should become of the Crozet Library” Poll”

  1. Col. Steve Sellers, chief of the county police says in Daily Progress article that well it’s not our first choice we’d rather be on 29 N. Good go there. Imagine trying to get a police cruiser to an accident on 64 from the old depot parking lot at 5:30PM with traffic backed up to Firestation.

    1. Gridlock in Crozet. Yeah we need one more emergency vehicle navigating through the intersection. Put a station on 250 and build it right and to house other govt services.

  2. Man, you think people’d be a little more hospitable to first responders and police officers in light of the recent anniversary and honoring of the sacrifices they make for all of us. As someone once said though, no one likes the police because they think of the traffic/speeding tickets, but when someone comes through the backdoor of the home, you can sure bet they’ll be loving them some police right then.

    1. This isn’t a debate about the merits of the profession, it’s one of what is the highest and best use of the old Crozet Library.

      And yeah, speeding tickets are a revenue source. And … they’d get to a lot of neighborhoods faster if they were sitting in a church parking lot than in a permanent structure (in my opinion). 🙂

    2. I think you are taking away the wrong idea. Folks in this town LOVE, respect and support our first responders. I happen to think Rescue folks and CVFD are the best in the county and we are lucky to have them. This is more about a building that is quite prominent downtown and the BEST reuse for it.

  3. The community has long talked about having a police substation in the downtown area, so it comes as no surprise that the substation would get so many votes. Crozet is in one of the largest police sectors in the county and having a substation would probably mean having the police closer to the growth area. I’m not sure about scaring away tourists, but I do believe it would probable deter those with criminal intent. I wonder if the person who robbed the pharmacy would have gone through with it if he looked across the parking lot and saw a police car sitting in the old library parking lot. As for a community center, the community has always viewed the old Crozet school for that purpose, which is why the county did a study of the old school for that use.

    1. By “community” who are you including besides yourself? Over 70%
      of respondents here do not want it. It is a large cost to be paid by everyone. There is a large, expensive, Library/Municipal building
      in Crozet. Instead of renting out the extra space use it for an actual need. If that need actually exists…

    2. You are missing the point 73% of the those surveyed said they would like the space considered for something else only 27% want it for a substation. We have an active, engaged community please do not ignore them.

      1. I didn’t miss the point. At the time I posted, the police substation had the most votes for any of the choices offered which didn’t surprise me. It also doesn’t mean the other 73% see the use of the building as a police substation as a bad idea, only that they see one of the other selections as a better use. I don’t think my view ignores the other uses, but gives my reaction to the statement in the main post “Honestly, I’m shocked that so many want a police substation on one of the major corridors to Crozet”. My view is based on the premise that having a visible police presence deters crime. We have just gone through a period when multiple residents in multiple neighborhoods have been affected by vandalism and vehicle break in’s. It must also be remembered that Crozet still has some significant growth yet to occur and if history is any indicator we will need additional police protection and a place for that protection to call home. As for tourism we’re opening tourist center in the new library and the limited amount of parking may be problematic for a restaurant. Even now the old library often serves as overflow parking for the restaurants across the street.

        1. Tom –

          Chief Sellers said last night that Crozet wouldn’t need a substation for 10-12 years.

          Is using such a prominent part of Crozet now for an admittedly-unneeded (and expensive) police station? – is something the community hopefully will be able to decide.

          To your point about the recent break-ins – how would the Train station as a police station have helped alleviate that?

          There were some excellent points raised last night (and in these comments) that hopefully will be raised again – traffic, historic property, prominence of the building – that, to my listening sounds like this might not be the highest and best use for the train station/old library.

          One question – using the $350k number – how many additional officers could the County hire and how many vehicles could they buy with that money?

          What would be more effective for public protection – a station or more officers?

          1. Points well made couldn’t agree more – it’s a timing issue and best use of limited tax dollars and resources.

          2. I may be misunderstanding the situation, but I don’t think they could hire any more officers with $350k as its a one-time fund. That is, its not a recurring budget item so even if you only hired one office at, say $40k (the minimum salary and uniform package), that number would likely only last about 5 years once you factor in benefits, social security, taxes, and then that money would have to be found elsewhere. Now it could get a decent number of vehicles, but I have not heard that the county has too many officers for its number of vehicles

          3. Jim,

            I can’t really respond to Chief Sellers statement that a sub station wouldn’t be needed for 10 to 12 years and to tell the truth his statement seems somewhat odd considering the article in The Crozet Gazette. That is to say if it’s not needed then why did the police ask the county to consider its potential use?

            As for the cost, the fact is the amount given was an estimate and since there has been no design even started the exact amount is unknown. That said, I see any funding needed as an investment in the future of Crozet..
            As far as the relationship of break in’s to a police substation, I think the answer is self evident. The more time police spend closer to the Crozet the better the overall prevention/protection. Giving the police officer a place to complete their reports, eat their meals, meet the public, the better the protection. This is not to mention the reduced response time to any problems here in Crozet. The simple fact that the police could park a police car in the parking lot may deter criminals who might not want to take a chance the police are close by.

            I think the issue of the number of officers the $350k could support was addressed in the post below by dukenilnil.
            Finally, I don’t think the answer is yes or no to the sub station since at present there is no other realistic proposal on the table for other uses. For the me the question was not yes or no rather what would I rather have, a substantial police presence in downtown Crozet or another restaurant? But that’s what dialog is all about.


        2. Also, I structured the poll as I did as I didn’t want to have it be an up or down vote on the police station – I think having options is a good thing … and that so many want a restaurant there isn’t insignificant.

          I’d be happy to run a poll asking “do you want that to be a police station? Yes/no?”

    3. Again, “the community” includes you but, you do not represent or speak for it. I have not heard of any interest in a Police Station in Crozet, it would simply be wasted resources to do it. If you really feel a strong need to represent someone other than yourself you should run for election. Just like the poll on this forum, see how the votes add up. Until Crozet becomes a town and actually holds elections that
      is just a fact… Could you post your thoughts on the topic?

  4. From Mary C via email:

    “Love the poll, great way to generate input.
    I would vote for a restaurant of some sort… parking is an issue, but a brick walking bridge over the train track might be a neat way to bridge the two sides of the “downtown” area. In this way parking could be available on the Fardowners side… and folks could go back and forth. I realize this is a huge investment… but there you have it.”

  5. As part of this discussion a number of posts have been related to the public use of the old library. In the article in The Crozet Gazette there was reference by the police department to the sub station having what I would describe as a public face and have hours when the building would be open to the public. One possible design of the building would have the lobby represent the history of the building. To that end an email from Lt. Jenkins from the police department had the following comment:

    The Albemarle Police Department has been approached about this same question and as good neighbors, we have suggested that the lobby area would be set aside for this very thing. We want the heritage of the Depot and history of Crozet to be remembered in this building. If given the opportunity to occupy the building as a Police Substation, this would be a part of the building.

    I would suggest that Lt. Jenkins email shows the police to be sensitive to the history of the building and the potential of having the interior of the building reflect that history.

    1. From Jay Stewart,
      Resident of Crozet.

      Regarding the post office and possible uses, I would suggest that the use by Co. Police should be considered. The building itself would cost upwards of $700,000 and probably a lot more – if they had to start from scratch.

      We need another restaurant like I need a new navel. Parking is hard enough to come by when I try to find a space for Crozet Pizza, Mud House, Three Notch’d Grill and Fardowners to say nothing of The Coffee Shop next to the BP or the new Hot Dog Stand. This doesn’t even take into account the 4-6 restaurants over by the new Harris Teeter on the 250.

      The other suggestions are equally absurd. Bodo’s – can you be less creative? An Art Center a la McGuffey?

      A year or so earlier, I had a need for assistance from the Police and called 911. It took about half an hour for them to arrive. Where they came from, I have no idea. Probably from Charlottesville or the depot on the non-existant station on the N29.

      I live in a neighborhood about 1 1/5 miles from the train station. It wouldn’t take the local police station more than 2 minutes to get to my house. How long will it take a patrol car to get to my house from the 29? I would guess about 25 minutes, if they had sirens blasting and ran a bunch of red lights.

      I was amused by the one posting that started “No to police… Do we want to scare the tourists away…” What “tourists” did you have in mind? If my guess is right, any “tourist” that comes to Crozet is probably armed and dangerous.

      This is the kind of “tourist” that we have been getting, that rifles through our cars, and breaks into our homes, when we’re away. I would much prefer that armed police officers were here to greet them.

      Jay Stewart

      1. When you are a bedroom community I guess you have to beg for tourists. Besides that there already is a spot for
        the PD if it is wanted. The Library/Municipal building has
        plenty of space that is not being used. If they are really needed that is the proper place for them. Using scare tactics “armed and dangerous” is pretty sad. Along with thinking you will get 2-5 minute response times. How many
        officers do you think will be sitting there waiting on your call??

    2. That is why the Library /Municipal building would be the perfect place. The County could actually make some money by selling
      the train station instead of spending alot of money on something that it is ill suited for. They already have the space in the library/municipal building and if nothing else they can guard the
      books. “History of Crozet” If people really care about it why the rush to tear it all down? I would hate to think that Crozet has gotten into such a shape as to need a police station. Why do you and that other guy want this in Crozet?

      1. Bottom line here is – we don’t have the crime to justify a station here and we are lucky to have the Crozet Safety Corp helping out. Go to their website and check out the crime stats – its low and that is great. This is about needs and wants – folks may want a substation – but frankly other locations in the county need it more than Crozet. The chief has readily admitted that by suggesting his first choice is 29N and Hollymead. As to Jay’s comments below the chief addressed that at the CCA meeting and said that they will not be based there just using the bathroom, locker room and office area but they will still be based in cruiser so I doubt response time will change much.

  6. Given the parking situation, the ideal use would be a business or government office open during the day, enabling the parking lot to be used by restaurant patrons during the dinner hour. Of course for increased parking, there is the bridge under the tracks for people to walk around but I don’t see too many people utilize that option. I think a bridge over the tracks would be an unnecessary expense, unless the businesses wanted to build one at their own expense.

    Phil’s comment regarding the Perry Foundation is an interesting one. What were the conditions for the foundation’s gift were. Were there any strings attached to the gift? Can the building be used for anything the county sees fit, including selling it off? Or, are there limitations to its future use?

    The location would be ideal for a museum/visitor center. I’m not sure how the finances for such a service would exist but I can imagine the growing wine/beer/agri tourism present in western Albemarle County and the nearby parks and forests. An old train depot is a great idea for a museum given the town is named after the engineer that built the railroad tunnel through the mountain. It’s location next to the old cold storage facility and its location right in the heart of downtown make it a great location. I would imagine there is a treasure trove of great oral history, artifacts, and people to fill a museum and staff a visitor center rather quickly. I for one would love to see this come to life.

    I can’t imagine how a police substation at a congested intersection is a good idea – the rescue squad and fire department have a tough enough time navigating downtown Crozet and their entrances are relatively much better. Construction of a new purpose built substation would probably cost significantly more than $230/sq.ft.; however, it would meet the long term needs of the police and not just fill a gap because an opportunity arose to put one at the old library. I’d imagine that a police substation would ideally have adequate parking, office space, storage areas, communications systems, overnight quarters, locker rooms, kitchen, holding cells, and more. I’m not a fan of trying to squeeze those into the old library simply because the space is available, especially when it’s need at another location more than we do. A centrally located police substation is a good idea, and one that I’d much prefer to see one in downtown than along 250, where I’d prefer not to see any more sprawl and congestion along the scenic highway.

    As to the subject of the appropriate name for the library building: does it have a name other than “the library?” As Wikipedia is the standard for all things, it certainly doesn’t meet it’s definition of municipal building (, so I think we can put that to rest. And, as Ed constantly points out, Crozet isn’t a municipality, so obviously we can’t have a municipal building.

    1. Wikipedia is a free for all. It is edited by whoever wants to. You have a large, expensive building built and maintained by public funds that has no single purpose. I could think of a better name for it but, since I and the rest of the taxpayers are involved with it I”ll
      leave it as Municipal;. There is new, available County owned space
      there. If the Chief does not want it, and does not see a need, the
      unelected have no right to demand it. The County and taxpayers
      have every right to recoup some money by the sale of the Train
      Depot. After all, the old Crozet School could of been put to good use but, that is another sad tale…

  7. If we really need a police substation in Crozet (and I’m not sure we do), it seems to me Old Trail would be a better location for it, for several reasons:
    1) residents are concerned about the new hotel going in, and the potential for intoxicated hotel guests to be driving through the neighborhood after returning from trips to the vineyards; having a police presence there could help mitigate that, 2) Old Trail is one of the more frequent targets for car break-ins, and 3) residents have long complained about people speeding through the neighborhood, especially along the stretch that runs through undeveloped land – the “future park” area – again, having a police presence so close could prevent that, especially since those using that road to cut through to 250 are local residents and would be aware of the substation.

    I know some would have concerns that the existence of a police substation within a neighborhood might imply, incorrectly, that there is a crime problem in that area – but it could be blended into the existing restaurant/retail space there without standing out, I believe (and as that retail area expands in the future, the substation would be even less noticeable). Bonus, there are tons of children in Old Trail, and this would be a chance for them to really interact with police officers on a regular basis and build that sense of community. A substation there would mean fast access to Brownsville/Henley/Western schools if, God forbid, something were to happen there and they needed to respond. It would also give them easier access to 250/64 than a location in downtown Crozet. Again, I’m not sure we even need a police substation at all, but if we do, there are better locations than the old library, in my opinion.

Something to say?