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Plans for Crozet Park expansion taking shape

Claudius Crozet Park is looking to expand its pool and add a new fitness facility.

During a community meeting at the Crozet Community Advisory Committee Wednesday night, park board member Drew Holzwarth presented the proposal for the expansion. He said the board did a community survey in 2014, which led to the project.

“From the data and the information that we gathered from the community, we came up with a 10-year road map on what we were going to do to increase the vitality and make it a more active place, and as part of that there were five projects that were highlighted back in 2014,” he said.

Most of the other projects are completed, including a dog park, parking expansion and a new pavilion.

The total park is about 22.8 acres and is managed by Claudius Crozet Park Inc., a nonprofit organization led by volunteers. The site already has a special-use permit from the county, but it needs an amendment to add the proposed facilities.

The proposal includes a community recreation facility, which includes exercise areas, sport courts, community meeting space and a pool expansion. A second phase of the project is planned to include an indoor pool facility that would be connected to the fitness building and adjacent to the existing pool deck.

Creating a second access point out of an emergency access road from the property onto Hill Top Street is also part of the proposal, as well as approximately 150 additional parking spaces.

Community members asked about increasing bike and pedestrian access to the park, construction noise and traffic and other things.

Holzwarth said they are attempting to relegate the construction activity and traffic to the back of the site so the park can stay open. He said it will take about a year to build.

“The early conversations are for us to relegate that construction traffic to the back part of the park so Peachtree softball and baseball, SOCA soccer, the people using the existing facility, which is planned and remain open while we build our new facility, [can use it],” he said.

Crozet CAC member Sandy Hausman suggested that they add a green roof to the site.

“I don’t know what added expense that would bring to the project, but as a resident of Crozet, if I can help you in any way to search out new sources of revenue, grants, perhaps, to do that, I think it would be a really nice addition to the community and possibly an amenity to the schools and to the park,” she said.

Holzwarth said the current plan is that most of the roof of the facility is being reserved for solar panels to try to decrease environmental impacts.

Earlier this year, ACAC replaced the Piedmont Family YMCA as the tenant and operator of the park.

“I will share that the board members are incredibly active in terms of ensuring there’s a continued affordable recreation, and that’s what is important in terms of who the tenant is today versus yesterday versus tomorrow,” Holzwarth said. “We’re making no commitments to anyone in terms of who the tenants will be for this new facility.”

Planning commissioner Jennie More said she hopes no matter who is operating the park in the future, that financial assistance programs for families and individuals that want to participate will be available.

“I see things like this and it looks really exciting, it’s kind of shiny and new, but I worry there are people in our community who will not be able to access this and so I hope that whatever partners you work with and whatever creative things you can come up with will create ways in which we can help [people] continue to be members and enjoy this resource,” she said.

Park board members last year asked the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors for $2.4 million to build a new facility.

“This will be paid for through three pillars, if you will — one is going to be private donations, one is going to be through taxpayer money with any help from Albemarle County, they’ve made no commitments this time, and the third will be debt,” Holzwarth said. “[We’ve been] successful in securing debt and paying off the debt in the past, and we will be so again.”

The proposal will have to next go before the county’s Planning Commission and ultimately needs approval from the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors. Neither meeting has been scheduled yet.


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