(This story was originally posted as part of the September 21, 2020 edition of Charlottesville Community Engagement)
Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville has broken ground for the redevelopment of the Southwood Mobile Home Park off of Old Lynchburg Road in Albemarle County. Habitat purchased the site in 2007. Dan Rosensweig is president and CEO of Habitat.
“See, thirteen years ago, this community was facing a deeply uncertain future,” Rosensweig said. “Like a lot of trailer parks in the nation, it’s underground infrastructure had basically passed its useful life.”
Rosensweig said there was also development pressure on the property and residents asked the owner at the time to sell to Habitat. The organization was working on redevelopment of the Sunrise Trailer Court in Charlottesville. Now Habitat has been working with Albemarle County on a multiphase effort to redevelop the site without displacing residents.
“We came up with a plan of development that within the next ten years or so is going to turn this wonderful community of people into a wonderful community of people who are here, new people who are joining the community, new homes, and a little downtown core,” Rosensweig said.
Albemarle Supervisors voted on a rezoning last year that paves the way for the first phase, which will take place along Old Lynchburg Road and does not involve any of the existing trailer homes. Scottsville District Supervisor Donna Price was not on the board when the rezoning happened, but she is supportive of the funding Albemarle has committed to the project.
“When I think of Southwood, I think of the core values of non-displacement and sustainability,” Price said. “When I think I see Southwood, I see a representation of an essential public-private partnership that will produce a neighborhood consistent with Albemarle County’s Comprehensive Plan.”
The ceremony was held on September 18, 2020.