WELCOME!

This website is the online clearinghouse for information related to the Charlottesville Redevelopment & Housing Authority (CRHA) Master Planning process.

The Charlottesville Housing Authority is working with consultants from Wallace, Roberts & Todd to create a Master Plan for all 40 acres of land and public housing neighborhoods in the City of Charlottesville.  The broader process began two years ago and started in earnest in May 2009.  The latest information can be found below and in the page links to the right.   If you have questions or comments please do not hesitate to contact Amy Kilroy, Director of Redevelopment: kilroy@charlottesville.org.

sprinted thru summer into fall!

Summer has come and gone in a flash and with that comes a long overdue update of the website -

First things first: the newsletters for the past couple of months have been uploaded to the site.  You can find them by either using the links below or by going directly to the Redevelopment Newsletter page on the right.

August 2011

September 2011

October 2011

In addition to the newsletter update, we’re also coming upon the conclusion of the six-month long “study period” between CRHA and the City under the terms of the MOU agreement which was signed back in the spring.  We’ve been researching a number of topics this summer including Financing and Relocation options and will be packaging that information up for a presentation to both City Council and the CRHA Board.  The Final Report will include a series of staff recommendations about next steps for the project, who will be involved, and a timeline for projected next steps.

Contents of the report, including recommendations, will be made available when it is complete.  We’ll also be providing updates on how the meetings with Council and the Board go and offer any feedback or comments that they supply via the meetings. 

Have a great start to your fall season!

New editions of the newsletter

CRHA newsletters for the months of June and July have now been added to the website.  You may view them from the links below or by going directly to the Newsletters page using the link on the right.

June 2011

July 2011

Summertime Get-Togethers

We are happy to announce a series of summertime redevelopment get-togethers where we’ll be able to give you a reminder of what happened with the Master Plan last summer, an update of what we’ve done on the project since that time, a look ahead as to what will be happening next, and an introduction to the City Staff that have joined us in working on the project!

A schedule for this first round of get-togethers is below:

6th Street Community Center – Tuesday, July 12th @ 6:30 pm

South 1st Street Community Center – Thursday, July 14th @ 6:30 pm

Crescent Halls Community Center – Wednesday, July 27th @ 1:00 pm

Madison Avenue (picnic table area) – Wednesday, July 27th @ 6:30 pm

Westhaven Community Center – Thursday, August 4th @ 6:30 pm

Michie Drive (front yard area) – Tuesday, August 16th @ 6:30 pm

Riverside Avenue Christ Community Church – Thursday, August 18th @ 6:30 pm

These meetings will count towards Community Service Hour requirements for those that need them.  Children are welcome to join us for the meetings!  Snacks and drinks will be provided.

You are welcome to attend any of the meetings that fit your schedule.  Questions and comments are always encouraged!  For more information about these meetings, please contact Amy Kilroy by phone: 970-3253 or by e-mail: Kilroy@charlottesville.org

 

Everything Must Go!

As we’ve mentioned in earlier posts, since purchasing the former Walker Garage site last fall, we also inherited a pile of auto repair merchandise that was left behind by the previous owners.  This includes things like hydraulic lifts (x5), miscellaneous tools, diagnostic machines, a variety of storage bins and other items of value. 

We have been receiving  a constant stream of calls and visitors asking what is to be done with all of the merchandise.  We now have some answers to the questions you’ve been asking:

1) All merchandise left behind in the garage must be sold through the City’s procurement/regulatory process.  This means that we (the City or the Housing Authority) are not able to accept offers off the street or over the phone.  All items will be made available for public purchase through the auction website: www.publicsurplus.com  – you can search under “Browse Auctions by Area” – choose Virginia, and then select “City of Charlottesville” as the Agency.  Items will be posted to the auction page as they are inventoried and readied for sale. 

City staff have already begun transporting items down to the City’s warehouse on 4th street and will continue to do so until the garage is empty of items.  The lifts, and any other items that are too large to transport, will remain on-site and will be picked up from the garage after their bids have been awarded. 

2) If you have any specific questions about the auction proceedings you may contact Mr. Matt Damasco in the City’s Purchasing Department.  He will be in charge of posting the items to the website as they are ready for sale.  He can be reached by phone at 434.970.3865 or by e-mail at damascom@charlottesville.org

Revamped CRHA Newsletter

We also wanted to announce that we have redone our monthly newsletter and would like to begin sharing it with anyone who may be interested in reading it!  Our goal is to issue a new edition each month and we would appreciate hearing any feedback or suggestions you may have on content for future editions. 

May’s issue is attached here:  May 2011 newsletter 

Questions, concerns and suggestions may be directed to Amy Kilroy in the Central Office: (434) 970-3253 or Kilroy@charlottesville.org    Thanks!

Dumpsters, Documents and Decisions…

A few pieces of news to offer about the Levy Avenue garage and the current Redevelopment efforts:

  1. In our last posting, we mentioned that there were a couple initiatives underway that were awaiting completion.  First and foremost, the MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) between the City and the Housing Authority has been adopted by City Council and the Housing Authority Board.  This is a terrific step  forward in advancing the partnership between the two organizations and we look forward to sharing the results of this partnership with the Charlottesville community.   As a reminder, the message of signing the MOU is to help formalize a team effort between the City and CRHA so that Redevelopment is no longer solely a Housing Authority effort.  This partnership will allow us to continue adding more comprehensive elements to each site’s development plans. 
  2. The next piece of news is that we received word back from HUD that we did not receive the Choice Neighborhoods Grant that we applied for.  The intent of this grant was to further study the neighborhood around the Levy lots and how to make overall neighborhood improvements to the Study Area, including putting the Levy lots into greater context.  (This story was covered in the C’ville newspaper two weeks ago.)  Staff are currently reviewing the Scope of Work in the grant application to figure out a way of implementation with other funding sources.
  3. In that same article, the author mentioned that “Redevelopment could increase Charlottesville’s public housing units to as many as 720 from 376…..”   Redevelopment will increase the total number of housing units in Charlottesville, but the number of public housing units will remain the same at 376 units.   We had a correction printed in the following issue and online.
  4. We’ve had many questions from neighbors and visitors stopping by to see what’s going on with the Levy Avenue garage.  You’ve probably seen the orange dumpster parked out front.  Not to worry – we’re just doing a bit of clearing out of what was left behind by previous ownersWe’ve also been redoing the office space in order to move some staff in there a couple days a week – starting towards the middle of May.  There are no plans to do anything else with the building or the parking lot behind it at this point.  We are hoping that by having staff at this new community office, it will give folks a chance to stop by and talk with us about what we’re working on and hear your thoughts as well! 
  5. The last question we’ve been hearing a lot is “What are you going to do with all the stuff in the garage bays?”  The answer is that some of the smaller items will be taken to the City Warehouse on 4th Street to be sold.  The larger items like the hydraulic lifts and some of the other tools that are more difficult to move will be inventoried and sold at an auction that will be held at the Levy GarageDate is TBD, but it will be well advertised!  Due to City Procurement Rules, we are not allowed to sell things at random when folks stop in to make an offer, so the public auction will be your best chance to pick out what you want!  More details to follow -

Further Levy Avenue updates…

Another batch of questions and concerns that we have been getting revolves around the contents of the Master Plan regarding Levy Avenue, more specifically the drawing which still calls out 36 units of public housing to be placed on that site. 

I thought it important to address these concerns again, especially in response to the Daily Progress article and news stories that ran on NBC 29 and CBS 19 on Monday night/Tuesday morning of this week.  In the press coverage it discusses the drafted MOU committing the City and CRHA to starting with the Levy Avenue project as Phase 1 and that there will be 36 units of housing built on-site.  Only the first half of that statement is accurate

We have committed to developing Levy Avenue as a beginning phase in the MOU.  We have not committed in any sort of detail as to what will be built on that site – density, type of units (% income), total number of units, amount of commercial space, etc.  Those questions will be answered via another round of community meetings as we hire and begin working with our next development partner. 

So, why then does the drawing in the Master Plan still show a 36-unit design scheme? 

The reason that the drawing is still the same in the Master Plan is because that was the one that was “best” liked out of the three we were given, even though we weren’t overwhelmingly in favor of any of them.  Our Board didn’t want to pay the consultant team for another set of drawings for that site.  We knew that Levy Avenue would be implemented in an early phase and would be having a new, more comprehensive set of drawings done by whomever the next consultant was.  You’ll note that the text portions of Levy Avenue have been altered to be more comprehensive in the Final Plan as opposed to the August draft.  We tried to incorporate as many of the Belmont neighborhood’s concerns into this portion, to keep them on our radar for future discussion, even though the drawing itself wouldn’t be able to reflect those concerns. 

I can assure you that nothing will be happening at Levy Avenue until we’ve had additional rounds of design development and conversations with community members, neighbors and residents.  

The Levy Ave. drawing currently shown in the Master Plan isn’t something that anyone should get attached to.

Status updates – Levy Ave.

We’ve received several messages  asking about what the status is on the development of the Levy Avenue site.  Until recently, we haven’t had much in the way of “news” to publish.  We’ve been “on hold” for a couple reasons:

1.       The City is working on getting more involved with the project as a whole (all sites) so we’re in the process of negotiating an MOU agreement about what sorts of resources the City will be willing to contribute to making the project more about Neighborhood Revitalization and not just about fixing up CRHA land.  This stems largely from the conversations we’ve had with folks in surrounding neighborhoods about growing the project beyond its original scope. 

We held a Joint CRHA Board/City Council Work Session on Monday, Feb. 28th to discuss the contents of the drafted MOU.  It will be put on Council’s March 7th agenda and on the CRHA Board’s March 28th agenda.  The message of the MOU is to help formalize a team effort between the City and CRHA rather than solely a Housing Authority effort.  This partnership will allow us to continue adding more comprehensive elements to each site’s development plans.

2.       In December, the City and CRHA put in a joint grant application to the federal Choice Neighborhoods Program (successor to HOPE VI as HOPE VI will eventually be completely phased out).  This application is technically called a “planning grant” but would be used to further study the neighborhood around the Levy lot and how to make overall neighborhood improvements to the Study Area, including putting the Levy lot in greater context.  Since we’re piggy-backing on what we’ve already learned from the Master Plan it won’t just be more “planning” per se….we envision some of the time and resources to be contributed more towards “pre-development” work, but that part is still a ways away too. 

We anticipate hearing results back about both items by the end of March, so hopefully there will be more information and direction to share at that time! 

In the meantime, staff have been working on researching financing and relocation options available for projects similar to ours.  The Master Plan provided us with some big picture concepts and an overall vision but needs some fleshing out on the logistics side of things in order for us to have answers to the more detailed questions being asked.

Virginia Film Festival features documentary about Vinegar Hill

The annual Virginia Film Festival is an event that showcases a variety of films geared towards a variety of different audiences with an even broader variety of interests.  Vinegar Hill has been a subject of interest and documentary study for a number of years with films featuring Charlottesville’s most historic neighborhood appearing both last year and this year.  Information about this year’s film can be found below and in the attached flyer.

For those who are interested in seeing the film and are unavailable on Saturday afternoon, we will be working with the film’s Directors and Producer to arrange a second screening.  More details will be made available as soon as possible.

Saturday, November 6, 2010 – 12:30 p.m.

That World is Gone: Race and Displacement in a Southern Town

Directed by: Hannah Brown Ayers and Lance Warren

Revealing the history of Charlottesville’s largest African American neighborhood, Vinegar Hill, That World is Gone explores black property ownership and the area’s destruction in 1965. Drawing on years of scholarly research, original interviews, and oral history, the film finds Vinegar Hill’s residents at the intersection of local and national politics and prejudice. Surviving residents describe the neighborhood they knew and loved, and consider future prospects for black residence and success in the city. 

Featuring a soundtrack of local blues and jazz musicians, That World is Gone springs from the community at its heart. Veteran jazz pianist 88 Keys and local legend Corey Harris, along with area favorites Eli Cook and Nathan Moore, help bring to life the fond memories, painful past, and uncertain future familiar to African American communities throughout the South.

Vinegar Hill Theater Tickets: 

http://tickets.artsboxoffice.virginia.edu/single/EventDetail.aspx?p=1486&sStatus=new

Arrival of Final Master Plan

We have received the Final Master Plan from our consultant team at Wallace, Roberts & Todd (WRT).  The page on the right (Final Master Plan) will provide you with access to each of the chapters as they are presented in the document.  Many of the chapters are quite large in size, so please be patient while they download. 

The Housing Authority Board adopted the Master Plan at their August 23, 2010 meeting.  Board members and Staff view this as a Living Document which is subject to change and revision as we get farther along into our process.  If you haven’t been to a meeting yet or offered us your comments – feel free to continue doing so.  Your comments and concerns will be instrumental in helping guide us through implementation. 

Amy can be reached by phone at (434) 970.3253 or by e-mail at Kilroy@charlottesville.org

Please let me know if you have any difficulty downloading these materials.  One of our next steps will be to hold a series of neighborhood meetings to collect additional feedback and comments about the Plan and to answer any questions you may have.  I will start by getting in touch with Neighborhood Presidents whose contact information I already have and will begin scheduling from there.  I’m open to suggestions if you feel there is a better way to schedule a meeting for your neighborhood. 

I am also open to scheduling meetings with organizations and community groups in addition to neighborhood associations to help further get the word out about our project.  Send us your contact information if you have a meeting you would like us to schedule.