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July 12, 2012

Bypass opponents launch campaign to promote alternatives

DailyProgressBy Sean Tubbs
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Thursday, July 12, 2012

Two organizations opposed to the Western Bypass of U.S. 29 in Albemarle County have produced a three-minute video to encourage citizens to consider alternatives to the 6.2-mile, four-lane highway.

“We put this video together to highlight better approaches to solving traffic problems on U.S. 29,” said Morgan Butler of the Southern Environmental Law Center on Thursday. “The community itself has developed an approach that is far less damaging than the bypass; it’s more cost-effective, and it provides benefits that the bypass simply does not.”
 
20120712-hydraulic-spui
This conceptual image from the video depicts how a grade-separated interchange at Hydraulic Road and U.S. 29 might look like. Click here to see the video. Credit: Southern Environmental Law Center
In June, the Commonwealth Transportation Board awarded a $136 million contract to design and build the bypass to a team consisting of Skanska-USA and Branch Highways. 
 
However, the Skanska-Branch team cannot begin work on the final design until after the Virginia Department of Transportation completes an environmental assessment. The last study, known as an environmental impact study, was concluded in 2003. 
 
The Federal Highway Administration is expected to determine in the fall if further scrutiny is required. The environmental groups hope the FHWA will make a decision that stops the bypass once again.
 
“If changes have been made to the proposed project — or new information has become available — since the original EIS that would lead to significant environmental impacts, a supplemental EIS may be warranted,” said Doug Hecox, a FHWA spokesman.
 
Butler said the community’s development of the Places29 Master Plan is one of those changed circumstances. In addition to other transportation improvements, the plan approved in 2011 eventually calls for grade-separated interchanges at Hydraulic Road and Rio Road, the extensions of Hillsdale Drive and Berkmar Drive and an additional off-ramp at the U.S. 29/250 Interchange. 
 

Continue reading "Bypass opponents launch campaign to promote alternatives" »

May 08, 2012

Placemaking: A Blueprint for our Future

 

20120426-Placemaking

Watch the video filmed by Brian Wimer

Slide01
Download Download the presentation

On April 26, Charlottesville Tomorrow held its annual community conversation. This year’s topic was “Placemaking: A Blueprint for our Future.” Over 130 community members turned out to hear Dr. Katherine Loflin present her findings from the Knight Foundation's Soul of the Community project on how attachment to place drives a community’s economic vitality – and how understanding those attachments can direct the ways in which we as a community choose to change and grow.

The top-4 attachment factors (full study):

  1. Social offerings
  2. Openess
  3. Aesthetics
  4. Education

If you weren't able to attend, here's a little background: The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Gallup recognized that there had long been a connection between employee satisfaction and business productivity, and they wondered if the same could be applied to communities. So they set out to see if there was any connection between people’s general feelings of satisfaction about where they lived and the overall productivity and economic health of a community.

The resulting study of 26 communities, called the Soul of the Community, ended up drawing clear parallels between what they call “attachment drivers” and the growth of a local economy. Purposefully emphasizing those drivers in community-wide decision making and keeping place central to decisionmaking is what they call placemaking. Download the latest results from the project here.

At Charlottesville Tomorrow, we view ourselves as conveners of a conversation. We want you to get involved and make an informed choice. We think clearly understanding what makes our community special in a way that acts as a context for the decisions we make about how we change and grow is important; to that end, over the next few weeks we'll be bringing you commentary from people who attended the event and want to share their thoughts on Placemaking in this community.

20120426-audienceOver 130 community members turned out to hear
Dr. Katherine Loflin present her findings from the
Knight Foundation's Soul of the Community project
Panel_1A local panel, composed of Kathy Galvin, David Sloan
Paul Beyer, and Andrea Douglas, responded 

Photo credits: Rich Tarbell

This event was made possible by the generous support of the
Charlottesville Area Community Foundation and
the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

CACF_logo Kflogo-300x50

Listen using player above or download the podcast:
Download 20120426-Placemaking

 

TIMELINE FOR AUDIO & VIDEO

  • 00:01:07 - Introduction by Michael Bills, Chairman, Charlottesville Tomorrow Board of Directors
  • 00:05:20 - Presentation by Dr. Katherine Loflin
  • 01:01:00 - Panel introductions and discussion
  • 01:24:22 - Audience questions

 


View photos by Rich Tarbell on Flickr

January 26, 2012

Update on civic media and community engagement

"Blacksburg Tomorrow"?

We all know the media landscape is changing. More people are reading their news online and looking for multiple sources of news, including social media.  Yet, in many communities local newsrooms are shrinking and the information our democracy and a thriving local community depends upon is getting even harder to find. 


Virginia Tech, Institute for Policy and Governance
Community Voices, November 29, 2011

  • Video timeline:
    • 00:00 to 23:00 - Presentation
    • 23:00 to 40:45 - Q & A with moderator
    • 40:45 to 59:39 - Audience questions

Last winter, I was contacted by Virginia Tech's Institute for Policy and Governance which is involved in an effort to reinvigorate local information resources, news and otherwise, in Blacksburg. That conversation led to an invitation to meet with their residents and Virginia Tech faculty and students to discuss our work in civic media and community engagement.

A video capturing the evening presentation at the Lyric Theater has just recently been published.  I was joined by Sean Tubbs, Charlottesville Tomorrow’s Senior Reporter, and we both found it very interesting to see another Virginia community searching for new ways to share information and engage the public.

Throughout the day we were peppered with questions about the origins of our organization, funding, our board of directors, our daily work, and of course our partnership with The Daily Progress. 

It was an invigorating day, and a good reminder that we have a lot to be thankful for in the resources and information we are able to share in this community.  I sincerely hope Blacksburg proves to be as generous towards whatever form of new media they decide to pursue as our local donors and foundations have proven to be. We wouldn’t be able to do what we do without this community’s generous support.

20120115-cover

I shared in Blacksburg some of the metrics below related to our news partnership.  While Media General, the company that owns The Daily Progress, does not pay for articles we write, the partnership pays off for us in many other ways.  For example, our surveys tell us many of you see our content primarily because it's in the paper or on their website. 

In 2012, we are planning a series of events and activities to build even better connections with you.  That has been facilitated by a major grant from the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.  I know many of you are noticing the increased attention our Community Engagement Coordinator, Jennifer Marley, has put on everything from social media to community events.

For those of you interested in reviewing this data and the presentation, we are naturally curious about your observations.  We are half way through this grant, and I’d like to hear what’s on your mind.

Brian Wheeler
Executive Director


Charlottesville Tomorrow + The Daily Progress: Partnership Highlights 2009-2011

  • 487 published stories (newspaper’s online and print editions) including major front page stories, features, and collaborative series - 24 stories a month in 2011
  • 17% increase in newspaper’s content on growth and development (Charlottesville Tomorrow now produces almost 50% of content in that area)
  • 100% of Charlottesville Tomorrow’s stories now appear on the newspaper’s website and more than 80% appear in print
  • 217% increase in Charlottesville Tomorrow's website traffic
  • Significant collaboration between editors and reporters, in both organizations, to maximize quality and timeliness of coverage
  • Joint production of local election voter guides and co-sponsoring of candidate forums - Newspaper makes in-kind gift for voter guide layout and printing
  • There is no direct financial contribution to Charlottesville Tomorrow
 
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20111231-line

November 04, 2011

Audio & Video of Albemarle Supervisor candidate forum - Scottsville District

2011-election-DPx476On November 1, 2011 at Monticello High School, Chris Dumler (D) and Jim Norwood (R), the two candidates vying for the Scottsville District seat on the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors, participated in a candidate forum co-sponsored by Charlottesville Tomorrow and The Daily Progress.
 
Read this article for complete coverage by The Daily Progress.


Listen using player above or download the podcast: Download 20111101-Scottsville-Forum

The candidate forum participants





Watch the forum video

TIMELINE FOR PODCAST:

  • 00:00:52 -- Welcome and introduction fromm moderator Brian Wheeler
  • 00:03:55 -- Opening statement from Jim Norwood (R)
  • 00:07:27 -- Opening statement from Chris Dummler (D)

Continue reading "Audio & Video of Albemarle Supervisor candidate forum - Scottsville District " »

October 21, 2011

Audio and video of Albemarle Supervisor candidate forum - North Charlottesville Business Council

2011-election-DPx476

The North Charlottesville Business Council held a candidates forum on October 19, 2011 for the five candidates seeking election to the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors. The event was held at the Doubletree Hotel and sought responoses on economic vitality, the Western Bypass and the community water supply plan

Read this article for complete coverage by the Daily Progress

 Listen using player above or download the podcast: Download 20111019-NCBC

The candidate forum participants: 

Watch the forum video

Questions

  1. The North Charlottesville Business Council has long been an advocate for the US 29 Western Bypass.  Albemarle County and the MPO have now approved the project. Considering where we are today, what is your position on the Commonwealth Transportation Board approved (and funded) Western Bypass and widening of US 29 from Polo Grounds Road to Hollymead?  And as a Supervisor would you vote to reconsider the project?
  2. The Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority is seeking a revised permit for a 30 foot earthen dam at Ragged Mountain Reservoir.  What is your position on the community water supply and other RWSA infrastructure needs (sewer, treatment plants, etc.)
  3. In January 2010, the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors passed an economic action plan (4-2).  What are your thoughts on this action plan?  Has it been successful?  Should the plan be renewed?  Are there elements that should be added?  What, if anything, should local government do to increase the economic vitality of the region?

October 17, 2011

Audio & Video of Albemarle Supervisor candidate forum - Scottsville District

2011-election-DPx476On October 11, 2011, Chris Dumler (D) and Jim Norwood (R), the two candidates vying for the Scottsville District seat on the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors, participated in a candidate forum co-sponsored by the Scottsville Community Chamber of Commerce and the League of Women Voters of Charlottesville/Albemarle.

Read this article for complete coverage by The Daily Progress.

Listen using player above or download the podcast: Download 20111011-Scottsville-Forum

The candidate forum participants

20111011-scottsville2


 

Watch the forum video

 

October 11, 2011

Audio & Video of Albemarle Supervisor candidate forum - Rivanna District

2011-election-DPx476On October 6, 2011, the community of Westminster-Canterbury sponsored a candidate forum for the two candidates running for the Rivanna District seat on the Albemarle Board of Supervisors.
 
Local residents came to hear the candidates respond to questions posed by moderator Bob Gibson, the audience, and each other.  Read this article for complete coverage by The Daily Progress.



Listen using player above or download the podcast: Download 20111006-Rivanna-Forum

The candidate forum participants

20111006-forum




Watch the forum video

 

September 29, 2011

Audio & Video of Albemarle Supervisor candidate forum - Rivanna District

2011-election-DPx476On September 28, 2011, Charlottesville Tomorrow and The Daily Progress co-sponsored a candidate forum for the two candidates running for the Rivanna District seat on the Albemarle Board of Supervisors.
 
Local residents came to the Hollymead Elementary School to hear the candidates respond to questions posed by the moderator, the audience, and each other.  Read this article for complete coverage by The Daily Progress.


Listen using player above or download the podcast: Download 20110928-Rivanna-Forum

The candidate forum participants
  • Kenneth C. Boyd (R)
  • Cynthia Neff (D)
  • Brian Wheeler, Moderator

20110928-rivanna-shurtleff Photo: Andrew Shurtleff, The Daily Progress
Used with permission

Watch the forum video

0:03:48 -- OPENING STATEMENTS

0:10:00 -- QUICK RESPONSE TOPICS

 Water plan
As the primary approach for adding to our long term water supply, do you favor dredging and water conservation before construction of a new or taller dam at the Ragged Mountain Reservoir, YES or NO?

 Western Bypass
Do you support construction of the 6.2 mile Western Bypass as currently proposed for U.S. Route 29, YES or NO?

 Property Taxes
Will you consider raising the real estate property tax rate in the next county budget to invest in capital funding priorities, YES or NO?

SEVEN MODERATOR QUESTION TOPICS

0:12:10 -- Economic Vitality Plan
What role should local government play to stimulate economic vitality?  Do you support Albemarle’s economic vitality plan and are there areas you recommend for improvement?

0:15:35 -- City-County-UVA relations
How should the city, county and the University of Virginia work together to enhance our community’s unique character and economic vitality?

0:18:55 -- Western Bypass
Do you believe the Western Bypass project is consistent with the character of our community and the public’s vision for transportation in Albemarle County?

0:22:44 -- Growth area boundary adjustments and/or expansions
Should the board consider boundary adjustments for Albemarle County’s designated growth areas to create new locations for business on land currently zoned as rural areas?  Does it matter if the land is in the watershed of the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir?

0:27:20 -- Education
Albemarle County’s vision statement calls for a “world class” public education system.  What does that mean to you and how will you support that goal?

0:30:38 -- Your priorities
What is your top priority for action by the board of supervisors if you are elected?

0:33:46 -- Your qualifications for Board of Supervisors
Please describe your past experience that qualifies you to be on the Albemarle Board of Supervisors.

0:37:20 -- AUDIENCE QUESTIONS

1:00:54 -- CANDIDATES ASK EACH OTHER QUESTIONS

1:10:40 -- CLOSING STATEMENTS

 

August 19, 2011

Video of 'The People's Forum' for Charlottesville City Council candidates

On August 17, 2011, Ryan DeRamus, owner of Random Row Books, hosted a forum for all candidates running for Charlottesville City Council. Eleven of the 12 declared candidates seeking three seats on the council participated.

The almost 70 citizens in attendance took full advantage of the opportunity and generated all the questions.

Read our news story describing this forum and access audio podcast and timeline here.

Watch the video below:

Charlottesville City Council
candidate forum
from Charlottesville Tomorrow on Vimeo.

August 16, 2011

Fry's Spring Neighborhood Association City Council Candidates Forum

20110810-Fry'sSpring-Forum
The twelve declared candidates participated in the Fry's Spring Neighborhood Association Forum on August 10, 2011

On August 10, 2011, the Fry's Spring Neighborhood Association held a candidates forum for the twelve men and women running for three seats on the Charlottesville City Council. Questions at the event were specifically directed to issues of importance to the neighborhood.

The candidates are Scott Bandy (I); Paul Beyer (D); Colette E. Blount (D); Brevy Cannon (D); Brandon Collins (I); Bob Fenwick (I); Kathleen M. Galvin (D); James Halfaday (D); Satyendra Huja (D); Paul Long (I); Dede Smith (D); and Andrew Williams (I). The forum was held at Cherry Avenue Christian Church and the moderator was Hardy Whitten, president of the Fry's Spring Neighborhood Association.

Download Download complete transcript (Adobe Acrobat PDF)

Listen using player above or download the podcast:

Download 20110810-Fry'sSpringForum

WATCH THE VIDEO:

Fry's Spring Neighborhood Association City Council Candidates Forum
from Charlottesville Tomorrow on Vimeo.