By Kim Guenther
Crozet Park Board president
When a gift inspires others to give it’s magical, and so it has been at the Crozet Park over the past four weeks since the park board formally announced a yearlong $170,000 capital campaign, “Play Crozet.” The goal: to build two multi-use pavilions for our Crozet Community.
Just a few days after the campaign launched, a generous Crozet family, who wishes to remain anonymous, gave the park a $45,000 gift to build the first of two pavilions. Their request was to use their gift to challenge the community to give and to rebuild the pavilion destroyed by storm in 2012. This particular pavilion has some history. Those of us who have lived in Crozet for a few years remember the last day of June in 2012 when derecho winds swept through the area, knocking down trees and power lines and cancelling the Independence Day parade and fireworks show. When it was over, the Park’s much-used pavilion sat in a heap, a total loss. Since then, the spot has sat vacant, only the cement pad remaining, a trip hazard and a sad reminder of a useful structure that had sheltered family picnics, exercise classes, kids’ camp activities and more. The Park was unable to afford a replacement until our donor family came along.
Inspired by the family’s gift, others in the community have stepped up as well. Stanley Martin Homes, under the direction of Drew Holzwarth, provided pavilion materials at cost and offered to manage the first stages of work, all at no cost to the park.
On September 17, a team of 15 descended upon the park to begin erecting the pavilion. Their aim was to have the pavilion framed, roofed, and painted in two weeks, in time for the park’s Arts & Crafts Festival October 11 & 12. Plus they intended to re-roof and paint the pavilion next door to match.
The same day, nearly 45 volunteers participating in the United Way Day of Caring came to the park to complete eight different Park projects, including painting the entire front fence running along Park Road. Teams of volunteers came from U.Va., the CFA Institute, and Volvo of Charlottesville. The park was teeming with people working side-by-side
A few days later, the company who framed the pavilion, CC Carpentry, inspired by the family’s gift and the show of volunteer force from the community, decided to donate their work. The cost of framing labor was zero. Soon after, Southern Insulation donated siding.
This all started with one generous gift.
While all this was taking place at the Park, another event brought together the culinary talent of the Crozet area to raise funds for a pond-side amphitheater. The Lodge at Old Trail, under the direction of David Hilliard and Judy Bowes, hosted the third annual Culinary Competition for Charity. Chefs from Southern Way, Sal’s Restaurant, Fardowners, and da Luca Café all gave up a weeknight in their own restaurant to help raise funds to benefit the park and compete for this prestigious culinary award. The judges know best that all our local chefs gave inspired efforts, but Fardowners took the prize for a second year in a row. It was a tremendous evening culminating several days of inspirational giving. Giving has become a hallmark of our small Crozet community.
Claudius Crozet Park relies on leadership, volunteering and funding from all of us. Whether your gift is small or large, you can donate at www.crozetpark.org/play-crozet/.