UVA marks three years since adoption of “Good and Great” strategic plan

The publication UVA Today notes that it has been three years since the University of Virginia adopted a strategic plan that has the name Great and Good. Several goals and objectives in the plan seek to position UVA to become “a strong partner and a good neighbor to Charlottesville.” 

“Our relationship with Charlottesville and the surrounding counties is critically and mutually important, “ reads the introduction to Goal 2. “Our success as a university depends in no small part on the strength of those communities, and on the strength of our relationship with them. We will reach our potential as a university only if we partner with our neighbors to ensure that the Charlottesville region is an attractive and equitable place to live.”

Some of the language in the Great and Good Strategic Plan for UVA (download the plan

UVA’s webpage for the strategic plan has been updated with a timeline marking progress toward the goals. This notes that a UVA-Community Working Group was appointed in October 2018, a minimum wage of $15 an hour was announced in March 2019, and the Equity Center was created in October 2019. The latter announced this summer a program called Starr Hill Pathways to help get local middle school students on track to attend UVA. 

Also in October 2019, the Community Working Group became the President’s Council on UVA-Community Partnerships and eventually led to a commitment from UVA to partner with a developer to build up to 1,500 below-market homes on land owned by UVA or its real estate foundation. In June, a request for qualifications was issued for a firm to work on two sites and 19 firms responded, according to UVA Foundation President Tim Rose.  

In November 2019, Albemarle County and Charlottesville both agreed to suspend the Planning and Coordination Council for one year, a suspension that has become permanent. The public body had been a forum for top officials to discuss matters publicly, and has transformed into a closed-door group known as the Land Use, Environmental Planning Committee. That group is not subject to Virginia’s open meeting rules and last met in June.

The President’s Council also established three working groups to make recommendations on the local economy, early childhood education, and how to increase ways for local residents to work for or get an education at the University of Virginia. A fourth working group on community health was established in May 2021. 

Center for Community Partnerships was opened on West Main Street in December 2020 as a physical home for the Equity Center. The UVA School of Law opened a Community Solutions Clinic in June 2021. A partnership called WellAWARE began this past January to improve health care outcomes in neighborhoods with high rates of disease. 

Meanwhile, UVA continues to purchase more land, particularly along Ivy Road where various components of a new section called the Emmet-Ivy Corridor are now under construction. In April, the Foundation purchased 1926 Ivy Road for $750,000, which was 250 percent over the 2022 assessment. In December, an LLC associated with the UVA Foundation purchased the Ivy Square Shopping Center for $20 million. 

Food of All Nations and the rest of the Ivy Square Shopping Center are now all owned by a subsidiary of the UVA Foundation

The UVA Board of Visitors meets this week beginning with a Wednesday meeting of the Finance Subcommittee on Tuition. The full Board meets Thursday and Friday. On the agenda of the Buildings and Grounds Committee is a vote on the demolition of University Gardens, an apartment complex on Emmet Street across from the Barracks Road Shopping Center. 

“The University Gardens apartments were built in 1948 and acquired by the University during the 1960s to provide alternative housing for married couples and graduate students,” reads the staff report for the item. “The removed location allowed married students and families to establish a neighborhood community environment within the sphere of the growing University.” 

There are currently no plans for what to do with the property. That may be informed by the 2030 Grounds Framework Plan, a key part of the next master plan for UVA. The firm Urban Strategies has been hired to do some of the work which is expected to be completed sometime this year.

Much of Central Grounds is technically within Albemarle County, where either UVA or the UVA Foundation has a substantial presence with ownership of the Fontaine Research Park, the North Fork Discovery Park, and the unprogrammed Blue Ridge Sanitorium.  (A clarifying update: The University now owns entirety of the Fontaine Research Park outright, having purchased it from the UVA Foundation over many years with the transaction becoming complete in 2018, according to the UVA Foundation website)

This year, two top UVA officials joined the Planning Commission as full members. Fred Missel is the director of development at the UVA Foundation and Luis Carrazana is the Associate University Architect. A non-voting seat reserved for UVA has not been filled since Carrazana became a full-fledged member of the body. 

Before you go: The time to write and research of this article is covered by paid subscribers to Charlottesville Community Engagement. In fact, this particular installment comes from the September 13, 2022 edition of the program. To ensure this research can be sustained, please consider becoming a paid subscriber or contributing monthly through Patreon.

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