No, We Don’t Need Crozet Station

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The [March] article about Crozet Station ends with architect Bill Atwood saying, “I think the businesses in Crozet Shopping Center need Crozet Station to happen, especially when Harris Teeter gets going.” The presumption is that the people who shop in downtown Crozet are people who would prefer to shop in newly built, cookie cutter-type stores, such as Harris Teeter.

The unspoken truth, however, is that there exist different kinds of people and each kind prefers different types of stores.

The only reason that Harris Teeter is coming into existence is to provide food for folks in the new developments—mini-Charlottesvilles—surrounding Crozet. Most, if not all, of these residents probably shop now in Charlottesville because—let’s face it—they are city folks, not country. Downtown Crozet is not a setting they are comfortable with.

But there are plenty of us who prefer the rural feel of Crozet and we aren’t interested in regularly shopping at stores such as Harris Teeter. For those of us who love the down-home comfy atmosphere at the present IGA [properly, Crozet Great Valu], walking into a Harris Teeter is akin to walking into a hospital—spic-and-span sterility as far as the eye can see.

The premise that Crozet needs a facelift—essentially a rural beautification project—to bring customers downtown is inane and downright insulting. It’s reminiscent of urban renewal programs, such as Vinegar Hill in Charlottesville, which destroyed the lives of perfectly happy folks because some people, usually from outside of the community, had the final say regarding whose sense of aesthetics should prevail.

Redevelopment pushes up the costs of living here because of the subsequent increase in real estate assessments, taxes, and rents. Local small stores won’t be able to afford these increases, and that is the reason why businesses in Crozet Shopping Center DON’T need Crozet Station to happen.

Marlene A. Condon
Sugar Hollow

Letters reflect the opinions of their authors and not necessarily those of the Crozet Gazette.

2 COMMENTS

  1. I am annoyed at this woman. I live in Cory Farm. I don’t think I’m uncomfortable with downtown Crozet in the slightest. I have lived here for ten years and I think I am as much a part of this community as any of the “rural folk.” I myself do not care to much for the new Harris Teeter. It was built right across from my neighborhood. Just because you are uncomfortable with the new Harris Teeter is no reason to insult people who did nothing wrong, some who did not wish to have this new store in the first place! We did not choose for this to happen. So I think next time you are going to insult people, you should do it to people who deserve it.

    -Charles Bill

  2. I would take issue only with the author’s point that the existence of Harris Teeter is “to provide food for folks in the new developments—mini-Charlottesvilles—surrounding Crozet.”
    And that a rural-city classification has a lot to do with the end equation.

    Harris Teeter, in my most humble opinion, exists (here) because the powers that put them here believe they can make money. Period. Harris Teeter cares only whether it’s debit or credit, cash or check, not country or city folk pushing carts. I think what Mr Atwood is driving at is that a fresh coat of something or other may draw those predisposed to shop only at the new HT back into downtown Crozet rather than abandon it nearly altogether.

    I’m sure many Great Valu regulars have been to the new store, and some of them will continue to shop at HT. The question is if GV (and surrounding businesses) can survive, at least at its current level of service, this seismic shift of dollars to HT and the surrounding shopping centers on the new rt 250-plex.

    Competition is always a good thing (didn’t they teach us that?), and hopefully it all comes out in the wash. Meaning that maybe the GV regulars will have a return to more of what they cherish at the old store (smaller lines and less crowded isles with more time to chat), and that the old and the gentrified may coexist. Maybe GV will take steps, however small, to compete! I hope so.

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