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