*STAR* UP-DATE April 2020
Dear *STAR* and Greene Commons Farmers Market Supporter,
I hope that you and your loved ones are well. This period is unlike anything any of us have experienced and, as some know, this covers a bit over eight decades for me. It is especially difficult for you who have small businesses, you who have been laid off, you who are confined alone at home, and especially you who have close family or friends stricken by the disease. You have our sympathies and we hope things will end well.
As you will expect, we have had to make major adjustments in our plans for the Greene Commons Farmers Market and Entertainment Stage. Judy Berger, our wonderful manager, has had to switch from planning a rich variety of community events to redesigning the market processes. However, we will re-open on Saturday April 18th.
Farmers have planted crops, meats have been prepared, chickens have been laying eggs, chefs have been making pasta and baked goods, and artists have been exercising their creativity. Nature and inspiration don’t stop when a new virus comes along! The vendors need your support.
You can pre-order your favorites from Greene Commons website, greenecommons.com, and have it ready for pick-up. However, you will also be able to park and buy at vendor stands. They will be offering pre-packaged food quantities, be widely spaced, require distancing and be subject to limitations on the number of people. However, you will be able to buy from your favorite vendors (and some new ones), keep safe, be greeted by their welcoming smiles and recognition, and take home the goodies you have been lusting for since last October.
However, the many planned musical, themed events and demonstrations for us will have to wait!
Three other revitalization projects have been placed on hold or slowed:
1) Our planned application for a Community Business Launch grant to attract new businesses to Stanardsville has been postponed. It seemed highly unlikely that many entrepreneurs were focusing on establishing in a new town at this time of uncertainty. We may apply in August, but that will depend on the prospects for economic recovery. If not, we will plan to apply next April.
2) A campaign to reduce the heavy traffic of 18-wheelers coming through Main Street and Madison Road will have to wait until we can collect signatures of landowners for a community petition. This traffic is wrecking our roads, breaking our water mains, discouraging new businesses and lowering home values. Most residents viewed this as a high priority, at least before Covid-19 arrived.
3) Although planning continues for new sidewalks and streetlights on the east and west ends of Main Street (on the north side), collecting the required rights of way and easements has slowed. Roy has contacted all the property owners and many have already donated their easements, but several signed authorizations are still pending. While the project has been delayed, it is hoped that construction will be done in the fall.
However, we are very happy to see that Grace Health and Rehab and its parent company has restarted the restoration of the 1840 William Mills House (next to the library). The chimneys have been repaired and a new roof will soon be put on, helping to prevent further deterioration from spring rains. Returning this to a beautiful historic home and commercial property will be a wonderful asset for Stanardsville and a great marketing attraction for the owners.
Alan Yost, Greene County’s Director of Economic Development and Tourism is working with several groups to ready us all for an exciting economic re-launch, once the Governor approves such a general restart. I am sure that he and the members of these volunteer committees would appreciate your creative suggestions. In the meantime, Alan, *STAR* and the Chamber encourage us all to patronize local eateries providing carry-out or curbside pickup, and local grocers, see www.exploregreene.com.
Many individuals, non-profit organizations and businesses in Greene are hurting. If you are among the lucky ones, I urge you to help where you can. Neighbors and friends might need shopping help – Great Valu is just around the corner, organizations such as Feeding Greene need financial help, our restaurants need take-out customers (Greene Hills Grille also does takeout) and agricultural producers need buyers for their products. Moreover, people locked in their homes always appreciate a friendly call.
I hope when I next write, we will all be enjoying the thrill of recovery in the Stanardsville area and Greene County. Building our community will continue.
For those searching for an interesting book to read – if you have access to a library or e-books – I have found a recent book presenting some intriguing and relevant ideas that are worth considering:
A Time to Build: From Family and Community to Congress and the Campus. How recommitting to our institutions can revive the American Dream. Yuval Levin, Basic Books, 2020.
It is one of those books where I expect you will find some great ideas and some that will run counter to your views. The author’s bottom line is that we need to work harder to strengthen our families, neighborhoods, local and state governments, community organizations and national institutions because their decay is causing great harm to us all.
Keep well. We can each make a difference! Look to the future with enthusiasm.
Don Pamenter and Roy Dye
Stanardsville Area Revitalization (*STAR*)