From the Editor: The Capital of Western Albemarle


The Capital of Western Albemarle

To get something done in the public sphere you must have organization. And while citizen activism on various issues has done wonders for Crozet, nothing quite gets the traction that comes when businesses get together and build a consensus on goals. How many times at Board of Supervisors meetings have we seen the supervisors lean forward in their chairs when someone paying business taxes,steps up to the microphone? Money gets attention.

So the metamorphosis of the Downtown Crozet Association into the Crozet Board of Trade holds out the prospect of big dividends for western Albemarle’s prosperity. The DCA arose out of the Crozet Master Planning process when it became apparent that the historic commercial center of what had been an agricultural village, was not prepared to deal with the realities of competition from shiny new commercial areas and the threat of highway shopping centers on Rt. 250.

What’s needed now is a more inclusive agenda that addresses the goals of greater Crozet and that invites all area businesses to be involved. Crozet has always insisted that it will have its hands on the steering wheel where getting to its destiny is concerned. Businesses prosper when they support each other in promoting trade and attracting customers.

Further, Crozet needs to attract businesses that offer more employment, for instance in the former Barnes Lumber location.

Local businesses also need to combine to be able to speak with an imperative voice. Consider the impact of the Rt. 29 bypass project, which could suck up all the state’s road improvement funds due to Albemarle for two or three decades, on Crozet’s need for a bridge over Lickinghole Creek and over the CSX tracks so that the planned eastern artery will actually connect Rt. 250 and Rt. 240. The money for those projects, somewhere in the order of $15 to $20 million, was supposed to come out of developers. But they stepped around that proffer gambit. Those projects must be public ones. Someday. How do we get someday to happen? By organizing our commercial power.

The CBT is incorporated and recognized by the IRS as a nonprofit organization that works for Crozet’s civic benefit. This is a handy foundation for tackling the economic development tasks that lie ahead.