By Kim Guenther
Crozet Park Board of Directors
Ambitious plans are taking shape in Crozet Park as we see early signs of spring. Here’s a sampling of projects completed or underway in your community park.
Thor, God of Thunder!
In February, a ThorGuardian lightning protection system was added to the top of the Crozet Aquatic & Fitness facility chimney. Although this contraption could be mistaken for some sort of weather station or ham operator antenna, it is not. It’s really a sophisticated, advance warning system capable of monitoring the atmosphere’s electrostatic energy as far away as 15 miles to evaluate the potential for lightning within a 2-mile radius of the Park. From 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., when hazardous conditions are present, the system alerts with a single 15-second air horn blast along with a flashing strobe light. The air horns alert again with three 5-second blasts when the hazard clears. The strobe light remains flashing the entire time hazardous conditions are detected. This new system will alleviate the challenge lifeguards, coaches, umpires and parents face of whether to clear the pool or the athletic fields when skies start to darken. This call is especially difficult without a view of hazardous weather conditions coming from the mountains. This new system will take guesswork out of the equation and make everyone in and around the park safer. The Thor Guard device and installation were paid for by the Peachtree Baseball and Softball League with additional support from Claudius Crozet Park.
More About Play, Less About Parking
With the help of Albemarle County Parks and Recreation (ACPR), the parking lot in back of the Crozet Aquatic & Fitness facility will finally get the attention it deserves. This area mostly sits idle except during the park’s large events, when the space is used for overflow parking. ACPR and the Park Board are working to change how this area is used with the focus less about parking (which will continue) and more about using the space for play.
In March, the existing basketball backboards, rims and nets were replaced with new hardware, and in the next few weeks, four sets of 42’ x 50’ half-court lines will be professionally added.
Additionally, lines will be added to accommodate various forms of the “Around the World” shooting drill. According to long-time resident and Park Board member Karl Pomeroy, who helped coordinate this effort, “…these new basketball goals are a huge hit. There are easily three times as many people using the courts since the upgrade. This past Saturday a group of 9- and 10-year-old students were playing a little 3-on-3. They all were very thankful and excited to hear that court lines are on the way. This update to the courts has been a while coming but…WOW!! The delight in these players’ eyes makes all the energy and money well spent.”
As part of revitalizing this rather sleepy back area of the property, the park’s existing three hard courts will be cleaned, resurfaced and relined this spring. In an effort to expand recreational opportunities for the Crozet community, pickle ball is now supported along with tennis. Quickstart tennis camps and clinics will continue spring and fall and a new pickle ball league has started up, meeting Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 10 a.m. The YMCA will continue to coordinate use of the courts for both sports.
Geckos Seen Along Perimeter Trail
Also in March, two beautiful green heavy-grade steel benches were added to the perimeter trail thanks to SK8CROZET. One is located west of the pond and the other above Holzwarth Field. Both have a SK8CROZET gecko cut-out. These benches have become the standard at Crozet Park with three others located down in the dog park. If you are interested in funding a bench, please send an email to [email protected]. Benches, including installation, cost $1,000 each. Also planned are two more doggie bag stations along the trail, one located close to where the trail crosses the front entrance and the other in the back where the trail crosses east to west from the parking lot to field.
WPED (AM) a.k.a. Radio Building
To round out the other things happening on the northwest corner of the park’s property, the park board is planning to renovate the small residential looking cottage along Hilltop Road commonly referred to as the “radio building.” This building was actually a radio station in the ’70s with station call letters WPED. The current interior reflects a by-gone era when it was an active country music station. However, by 1980 WPED changed hands and the building sat unused. In 2006, the radio building plus the almost half-acre lot was deeded to Crozet Park by Vito Cetta of Weather Hill Homes, LTD, the developer of Parkside Village.
Long used by the park and associated groups for storage needs, the first challenge is to find new homes for all the stuff. The goal is to relocate much of it to existing storage options in the park and dispose of unused items. The radio building renovation will be purposefully focused on keeping the space flexible to accommodate a variety of needs including existing park/YMCA programs and eventually, as a resource for the community. If you have questions about this project or have additional insight into the building history (including pictures), please send an email to: [email protected]
Only three months into the year, it’s clear a lot of people and groups are working hard to make Crozet Park the very best it can be, but the board is always looking for additional help.
Consider participating in our next Pitch-in at the Park volunteer event on Saturday, April 13, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. (sign-up at crozetpark.org/volunteering) Volunteers will be tackling a variety of maintenance activities throughout the park to get ready for the next Crozet Arts & Crafts Festival May 11 and 12.