One big topic in the Charlottesville Community Engagement newsletter and podcast is planning. There are Comprehensive Plans, Long Range Transportation Plans, Regional Transit Vision Plans, Climate Action Plans, and so much more. There are also strategic plans, and Albemarle County is in the midst of creating one to guide the next five years.
“We have many plans in our community that drive work and progress and we really want to connect those things better and be able to align that work, so this big picture thinking allows our services to remain adaptable as our community environment changes,” said Kristi Shifflett, the director of performance and strategic planning for Albemarle County.
There’s a new person in charge of Piedmont Virginia Community College. Dr. Jean Runyon became the sixth president on July 1 and she addressed the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors earlier this month.
“Before coming to Piedmont Virginia Community College I had the privilege to serve at three comprehensive community colleges, two in Maryland, one in Colorado, and coming back to Virginia is like coming home,” Dr. Runyon said.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the city’s Office of Economic Development has been distributing funding to businesses through a series of grant programs. The fourth round of the Building Resilience Among Charlottesville Entrepreneurs (BRACE) grant is complete and $93,000 has been handed out.
“The program received 86 applications totaling over $550,000 in business expenses incurred during the application period,” reads a press release. “After a thorough review, OED awarded 85 grants to small businesses and organizations that met the guidelines.”
The amounts ranged from $500 to the full $2,000. This time around, nearly forty percent of the recipients were first-time recipients.
Five months have passed since the Charlottesville City Council approved a rezoning in the Fry’s Spring neighborhood for nearly 170 units on land currently undeveloped. Members of the community expressed frustration at a recent site plan meeting when they learned planning work may not yet have begun on infrastructure improvements tied to Council’s decision to allow higher density.
“I’m flabbergasted that we have moved to this point without anything being done,” said Chris, one of several people on a site plan review call held on September 14.
The Charlottesville Community Engagement newsletter and podcast got its start in the early days of the pandemic when I launched the Charlottesville Quarantine Report. I was not working as a journalist but when faced with a crisis that had been brewing all winter, I began devoting my time to getting out information.
In the early days of this program, almost every episode had some information about the pandemic in some way. It has now been more than two and a half years since the state of emergency was declared, and it’s much more rare for me to get to a story.
At the September 21 meeting of the Albemarle Board of Supervisors, Chair Donna Price announced that she finally got a positive test.
“I joined 95,566,521 Americans with COVID last week,” Price said. “We’ve had over a million and fifty thousand deaths. There are 30 million Americans who have experienced long COVID.”