Competition is a good thing

Competition makes the strong stronger, makes the efficient that much more so and forces needed changes and evolutions.

In Crozet, the Old Trail development (ultimately 2200 homes in a New Urbanist development) is a force to be reckoned with. They have plans for a fitness facility. Likely a grocery store. A pool next year. They have plans to provide “affordable” housing (which may have a different definition of “affordable” than many of us are used to).

The time for arguments about whether Old Trail should have been approved at such a scale, has past.

Crozet Park faces some very real competition. Currently, they have one of, if not the, best soccer field in the County of Albemarle. They have two very nice baseball fields, two playgrounds and an outstanding pool and swim team. When it comes to nuts and bolts, they are providing a product, and for the past forty years or so (a great history is here, provided by Crozet’s Brian Campbell) have held a monopoly in Crozet on these facilities.

But they won’t keep the reputation as having the best product if they don’t innovate and embrace their position as the hub of Crozet. Competition, by its very nature, takes advantage of the complacent.

Nostalgia can carry only so much; human nature causes people to go to the newer product. That’s why people buy new cars, new houses and new toys. “Used” items aren’t as much fun (and often not as valuable either).

Let’s hope that the Park Board sees fit to compete – the possibilities are endless.

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Homesick for Crozet

Ed. Note: One of my favorite parts of running RealCrozetVA is the reader submissions I receive from time to time. Should you ever want to write a story for the blog, please submit it here.

I wonder if anyone else who grew up in Crozet ever feels this way when they drive through Crozet today. I read that some feel the old Crozet was an eye sore, the old buildings and store fronts, etc. Maybe you need to go to Charlottesville to live. Crozet was a village.

The old bank is gone. Crozet Superette, run by Mr. Moses Sandridge and his wife is gone. The Crozet Shoe Shop is gone. The old Crozet Drug store, where Jimmy Robinson use to dip out the biggest ice cream cones for 10 cents, is gone. Old Seals’ gas station is gone. I remember Mrs. Seal well, sitting out in the front, helping out. Tomlin Grocery – long gone.  Sandridge Gas Station where the road to IGA begins. Morton’s Frozen Food, with the TV dinners, Ice box pies, etc – gone. Acme Visible records where my mother worked, closed. The Red Front Super Market and Nannie Wagner’s 5 and dime, just a sweet faded memory. Coffee Jackson selling Christmas trees in the parking lot beside the old bank, I just smile to think, “how did he make anything for his efforts?”

Crozet had a theater at one time. Crozet had a drive-in too. Crozet Pool was where most all of us kids stayed from sun up to sun down and then rode our bikes home, or walked. We all had swimming lessons too. Vacation Bible School at the old Crozet Methodist Church, and oh! the popsicles handed out at the end. All the fun sleigh rides down the hill in Orchard Acres. Christmas time was something else.

Fourth of July at Crozet Park was beyond excitment for us kids. We could barely sleep the night before it started. Starting first grade and Mrs. Sara Wyant. I loved her and she loved me. The train ride from Crozet Station to Charlottesville and then to McIntyre Park to play. Trick or Treating and our home-made costumes.

I rode through Crozet recently; it’s not the Crozet I remember.

Nothing like it. It has a feeling of not being sure who or where it  belongs. I felt sad when I rode to old Crozet Elementary School, I got out and walked around and went to the back of the school where I started first grade so many years ago. I walked through the play ground. I looked over and I spotted something that I knew could not  possibly be the same sliding board that I nervously slid down in 1962.

It sure looked the same. I went over and stood beside it. It still seemed larger than life to me. I looked underneath the sliding board and was so surprised to see stamped just under the steps it read, “Property of Crozet High School”. For all of you former Crozet residents you will know what that means.  I had found one thing they had not taken away from us. You know what I mean. I left with a feeling you have when you go back to a place you haven’t been for many many years and you find something that holds so much memory for you.

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Send those Crozet Fireworks donations now!

Please email this story to your friends, your homeowners’ associations, whomever you think might be interested in contributing to the Crozet Community’s fireworks celebration.
Make those checks payable to –

Downtown Crozet Association, Inc.
P.O. Box 124 
Crozet, Virginia 22932

Text of the letter requesting funds is below the “fold.”

Fireworks 4 Bg 070402

From crozetpark.org:

The annual Crozet Volunteer Fireman’s Fourth of July Parade will be held June 30th at 10:00 a.m. !

A summer fest – party will be held after the parade at Claudius Crozet Park with fireworks by the Crozet Community Association that evening.

I don’t know that the Crozet Community Association is the sponsor, and frankly, I don’t care. So long as the fireworks go on (and I can see from from my back porch)

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A brief history of Crozet Park

Courtesy of Brian Campbell. Thanks to Brian for this very informative comment, I thought it deserved its own post.

“Crozet Park was donated to the community some 40 or so years ago. I can get the exact date. It was specifically set up for the Crozet Community. It was not given to Albemarle County. As such, it was set up to be governed by a board to decide on it’s uses and operation. These board members are revolving and are elected with a typical President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. Also, since we don’t operate under Albemarle County Parks System, we have a deed. Somewhere along the way, we established a good working relationship with the county. We don’t have the resources to take care of things like baseball and soccer fields, and the county needed these recreational resources for it’s citizens in the Crozet area. So we have a working agreement with the county. They supply and take care of all of the fields for the recreational programs, and we have the decision rights over what we want to have at the Park. The Park did build the pool and is in charge of it’s operation. We receive no money from the county for operation of the pool or any other activities. They just take care of up-keep of the hefields and grounds. The Park building is also owned by the Park. The actual programs are run by private non-profit organizations such as Peach Tree. This also helps us as we don’t have the resources to organize these programs. The Crozet Park Board consists of volunteers from the community consisting or groups that might have an interest in what is offered at the Park. This includes groups like Peach Tree, The Fire Department, The Lions Club, and we also have at large members, those that aren’t attached to an organization, but have an interest in how Crozet Park is run.

We meet the first Wednesday of every month to discuss the Park’s issues, and we’re always looking for new members. We like to have members associated with organizations or busineses, but we will take interested ordinary citizens as well. If anyone is interested in being on the board, they are welcome to get in touch with me. I hope this clarifies the Park’s operation some.”

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Single-sex education in Crozet

From The HooK today, referencing the new Field School, a single-sex school (of which I am a huge advocate, as I graduated from the former all-male Virginia Military Institute) - 

Barnett says he’s close to finalizing the school’s initial location, which will likely be in the Claudius Crozet Park community center in Crozet. He proudly shows architectural renderings of the space, which will feature flexible classrooms with moveable walls and a large central common area. The school is accepting applications for the fall for 16 spots in each the fifth and sixth grades. (Seventh and eighth grade will be added over the following two years.) A shuttle will take students from Charlottesville to and from school each day.

The question of the day – what will be the impact on Claudius Crozet Park? Presumably the Park Building will no longer be available for rentals.

Update: Todd Barnett clarifies and expands with his comment.

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Help design Crozet Station

From the Crozet Community Association listserv:

Bill Atwood, Architect for Crozet Station, the proposed redesigned, remodeled, and rebuilt commercial area stretching from the corner of 240 & 810 to Crozet Great Valu, came to the Crozet Community Advisory Committee last week, and presented his ideas for the new project. He would like to include Crozet people in the design phase of Crozet Station. Here is what he wrote:

I am looking for 14-16 people to work with me in the field towards creating a Crozet Architectural Language. I would like to start this process on or about 1 Nov 06 & conclude on or about 15 Jan 07. We will be establishing 6 – 8 Iconic architectural pieces in Crozet. We will be meeting regularly, at an agreed time. Bill

If you are interested, email David – dfwayl AT earthlink DOT net

Have a spare soccer field?

The girls’ team I coach is in need of a field – the offerings in Western Albemarle seem to have become more sparse and the competition more intense.

Anybody know of a spare soccer field – or even an open, level field that we could use?

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Sounds of Crozet

I’ve never been fond of swimming as a competitive sport – turning into a raisin is typically something I avoid. That and the early-morning practices, the cold water and the general “wet-ness.”

However, I truly enjoy the sounds of a swim meet from my back patio. The cheering, the announcer over the loudspeaker, the “beep” starting the racers, the sounds of community and competition.

“Heat Two!”

If I wasn’t working and catching up on work this evening, I’d walk on over to cheer some of my neighbors’ kids. Crozet still does have that small-town feel. The occasional giggle making it way through the air …

“Event 56, Girls 11-12, 50 metre backstroke, Heat 1!”

Ah, summer in Crozet.

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