Rockfish Valley News: August 2022

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New RVCC skate ramp under construction by volunteers.

New Skate Ramp Construction Underway

James Ragland, Bakwuds LLC, has been managing the building of the new skate park at Rockfish Valley Community Center with Building Goodness Foundation and many RVCC volunteers.

“We have again made excellent progress on our ramp build on our second weekend, July 16-17, and are now at the fun stage where it’s starting to look like a skateboard ramp,” Ragland said. “The rain delayed us a little bit, however we are still right on schedule. At least one more weekend of framing on support structures and foundation, then the plywood, and skatelite surfacing is expected followed by the metal coping rails.”

New RVCC skate ramp under construction by volunteers.

Saturday, August 6, will be a full workday for volunteers. RVCC Board members will serve the volunteers a cookout- style picnic lunch in tribute to their efforts.  The leadership of Bobby Ragland is recognized by the board, as well as the volunteer contributions by RVCC volunteers Henri Weems, Bruce Wachtel, Bob Yoder, Charlie Hickox. Michael Donagan, Mike Bailey and many other volunteers with skater families and Nelson community members are acknowledged. 

SK8 Nelson Says Goodbye

A final event was held on a hot Saturday, July 23, with live music, vendors and the energy of many young skaters and volunteers. The annual skate competition to raise funds for insurance cost draws a diverse crowd. This was the final time RVCC’s biggest festival was held at the 10-year-old ramp.  

SK8 Nelson Says Goodbye. Photo by Duane Brown.
From left: Barry Long, Brandon Anthony Stephens, Mike Bailey and Neil Ripani at the SK8 Nelson festival at RVCC.

Comprehensive Plan Update Begins

An opportunity to get involved and learn more about the Nelson County Comprehensive Plan update was presented to the public on July 13 in Lovingston and on the 20th at Rockfish River Elementary School.  The agenda began with an introduction to the Berkley Group (bglic.net) by Candice McGarry, County Administrator. Attendees discussed focus topics in two small group exercises, with each group reporting back to all in attendance. Citizen input is also invited through a survey offered to all at surveymonkey.com/r/Nelson2042PublicSurvey.

Ernie Reed, Central District Supervisor, provided an explanation of the process underway to attendees at RVCC on June 28.  Reed encouraged those present to stay involved in considering where we want to be in 20 years. Community groups have been identified as stakeholders for further input in the process through Dylan Bishop, Director of Planning and Zoning. The result of the current process will be presented to Board of Supervisors for approval. 

Public Hearing on Zoning Ordinance for Kennels

A public hearing is planned for 7 p.m., Tuesday, August 9, in the General District Court in Lovingston for a proposed amendment to the current zoning definition of kennels.  Public comments may be presented in person or by email to Dylan Bishop, Director Planning and Zoning [email protected] 

The proposed amendment would amend the definition of “kennel” and remove them from by-right use in A-1 (Agriculture) and SE-1 (Service Enterprise), keep as by-right use in M-2 (Industrial), and  add as by-right use in B-1 Business.  A-1 and SE-1 zoning would add a Special Use Permit (SUP) requirement.

Board of Supervisors Meeting

Regional transit improvements were presented by Lucinda Shannon for Thomas Jefferson Planning District at the July 12 Board of Supervisors meeting. Included for local use was the fixed route from Lovingston to Charlottesville expanded to an all-day service.  The Jaunt Circulator Service was also expanded to seven days a week.  

Virginia Cooperative Extension agent Grace Monger updated the board on programs and new regulations. Monger is the coordinator for Nelson County Master Gardener Association (NCMGA) volunteers. Currently 40 VCE volunteers serve as Extension Master Gardeners (EMGs) and trainees.  Active projects include Mallory Creek & Devils Backbone Pollinator Gardens, Horticultural Crafts with Seniors, Citizen Science, Helpdesk, Farmers Market Outreach, Demonstration Garden, Humpback Rocks Garden. Upcoming events at Nelson Center include a National Honeybee Celebration on August 20. Contact 434-263-7183 or [email protected] for more information.  

Financing for a $2.6 million property acquisition by Economic Development Authority R2022-45 was reviewed and approved.  The approximately 309-acre property is west of Route 29 in Lovingston, designated as Tax Map Parcel 67-A-39. 

County Administrator Candice McGarry proposed a $15 minimum wage or 5% as a compensation adjustment for all county employees. Law enforcement would be increased 5% with adjustments to position classifications and pay ranges. The resolution was passed unanimously by the board. 

Applications from North District are invited to fill the four-year term vacancy on the Nelson Library Advisory Committee. Interested residents may reply at nelsoncounty-va.gov/wp-content/uploads/Boards-and-Commissions-Application-Form.pdf.

One person from each District and one at-large member are included. The committee meets in Lovingston monthly for updates on community offerings. 

Ruritan Club Car Show Returns 

Rockfish Valley Ruritan Park will host the second annual car show sponsored by the Lovingston-Rockfish Ruritan Club Saturday, September 17, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The gate at 74 Rockfish School Lane will open at 9 a.m. with concessions, vendors, bake sale, 50/50 Raffle, door prizes, DJ HIXX Entertainment. Trophies for Best Car, Best Truck, Best Motorcycle and one Best in Show will be awarded. Sponsorship and entry questions are invited at 434-987-0082 to Jennifer Fitzgerald.

Rockfish Gallery

Rockfish Gallery is now open on Thursdays through Sundays 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with new displays of fine art, handmade gifts, jewelry, artistic cards, and creations. Volunteers led by Elaine Larsson have been doing a wonderful job in recreating this community space. A new sign is on the corner of Route 151 and Schoolhouse Lane with additional signs planned.  

New Solar Arrays Added to RVCC    

A project termed “Roc ‘n Sol 2” has again exceeded fundraising goals. New panels are expected to increase solar generation of electricity to 40% of RVCC electrical needs. The first “Roc ‘n Sol” effort enabled RVCC to install a solar array of 44 panels in January 2018, generating over 17,000 kWh—then over 11%—of the center’s annual electrical needs. The project was initiated by Arlo Bloom, a young student at Nelson County High School interested in promoting alternative energy generation in his community. Bloom helped persuade the board of directors that a solar energy project would be a key in the “Green Initiative” effort that restored or replaced all the windows in RVCC’s main building, rehabilitated its geothermal system and completed the re-insulation of all of the steam pipes beneath the center’s floors.

Arlo Bloom

Playground 

The Rockfish Valley Community Center is now fundraising for playground improvements under the project name “Play it Up,” with Arlo Bloom taking the lead. Plans call for two playgrounds, one designed for ages 7 and up and another for children up to 7 years old. 

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