The sun was shining and a chilly wind blew the weekend of March 21–23, as more than 20 volunteers from the Blue Ridge Home Builders Association joined a dozen-plus volunteers from the Crozet Trails Crew to design and build a handsome, sturdy staircase from Birchwood Hill Rd. down to the Creekside Trail in Old Trail. This BRHBA service project, coordinated by BRHBA President Christopher Brement of Bramante Homes and BRHBA past President Jeremy Swink of Stanley Martin Homes, represents the epitome of community collaboration, involving nearly 100 hours of volunteer work and $3,300 worth of donated materials. In addition to the staircase, workers smoothed out the trail, spread gravel to ameliorate muddy stretches, and reseeded and covered the hillside with straw.
“We are thrilled with the steps that Blue Ridge HBA built for the Crozet Greenway at the Creekside Trail in Old Trail. It makes access to the trail much easier and safer,” said CTC President Terri Miyamoto. “You can find this trail entrance near the intersection of Birmingham Drive and Birchwood Hill Road” in the Phase 4 (westernmost) section of Old Trail, across Jarmans Gap Rd. from Grayrock. The staircase, designed by Smith & Robertson Custom Builders, provides convenient access to this beautiful trail that runs along Lickinghole Creek. “This will really make this trail fantastic,” added Bob Dombrowe, CTC vice president and Old Trail HOA committee chair. The Creekside Trail also features bridges, benches, and a short boardwalk built by CTC.
Businesses who participated in this service project included Better Living, Bramante Homes, Builders First Source, George Mason Mortgage, JC Chavez Construction, Kingma Developers, Piedmont Land Management, Quality Lawn Care, Stanley Martin Homes, and Stony Point Design/Build—in addition to in-kind contributions by Culpeper Wood Preservers and the Blue Ridge Bottle Shop in Piedmont Place.
The project involved using equipment including a Bobcat loader, auger, and miscellaneous saws, drills, drivers, hammers, shovels, posthole diggers, and a digging bar to stabilize the (steep) hill, drill post holes, construct the steps, and spread stone along the trail at the bottom. “Drilling the post holes in the slope presented a challenge,” confessed Christopher Brement. “While we were able to use the auger for a portion of the work, we did need to hand-dig more than expected.”
“Our tagline is ‘Building Our Community,’” explained Jenny Tapscott, Executive Director of BRHBA. “In accordance with our strategic plan, we have tasked ourselves with adding more community outreach programs to our agenda. The Crozet Trails Crew had a need, and we felt that our members could lend a hand to complete an essential project and help out a fellow local non-profit. We couldn’t think of a better way to “build our community” than helping out with the Crozet Trails Crew staircase project.” BRHBA provides a model for what it means to ‘give back.’
The BRHBA is a professional trade association organized in 1964 to unite the builder/developer with the allied trade industries, businesses, and professions to develop the industry and the community. The association is made up of a diverse group of businesses, both builder and non-builder alike, with builder members making up about 30 percent of their 200 current membership, and the remaining 70 percent consisting of businesses that work within the industry such as building suppliers, window sales, pest control, plumbers, roofers, bankers, flooring experts, painters, landscapers, mortgage lenders, and more.
You can learn more about the BRHBA at its second annual Festival of the Home event coming up at Ix Art Park on Saturday, June 1 from 10 to 3. This free, public event gathers BRHBA members and non-members together under two huge tents as a one-stop-shop for the public to see the latest and greatest home improvement products that our community has to offer. There will be activities for kids—including face painting, a bounce house, balloons, fire truck, and scavenger hunt—as well as music, food trucks, cider, and more. There will also be hourly “Ask an Expert” seminars. Although the event is free, it will help to raise funds and awareness for their non-profit partner, the Albemarle Housing Improvement Program (AHIP), through optional donations gathered at the entrance. For more information visit www.festivalofthehome.com.