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Council announces ‘This Place Augusta’ series

The role of Augusta County’s landscape in the creation of villages and industries throughout its history will be the topic of the second program in the “This Place Augusta” series being held over the next few months. In the talk, Virginia Military Institute history professor Ken Koons will explore Augusta’s settlement at the Augusta County Government Center in Verona on Tuesday, Nov. 29 at 7 p.m.

The series, “This Place Augusta,” enlists local experts to help area residents appreciate the past, understand today’s trends, and take part in the future of their county. The topics are water resources, history of settlement patterns, agricultural vitality, land use planning, conservation and development, and the future.

The six sessions are being hosted by the Augusta Community Partnership. Valley Conservation Council is organizing the events in coordination with the Headwaters Soil and Water Conservation District, and the Augusta County Farm Bureau. The series is underwritten by the Community Foundation of the Central Blue Ridge.

Koons will speak on the role of geography and natural resources in the formation of villages and enterprises along waterways, turnpikes, and railroads. Vestiges of early settlement remain—can new development fit in this architectural and natural landscape? This session is co-sponsored by the Augusta County Historical Society.

The first talk, held in October with presenters Ken Fanfoni, of the Augusta County Service Authority, and Bobby Whitescarver, of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, focused on Augusta County’s water resources, and how they are being used and protected.

After Koons’ presentation, the series continues Jan. 31, when Steve Saufley, of the Virginia Farm Bureau, will talk on “Town and Country Augusta.” The discussion includes how the farms and forests of Augusta County drive the local economy and contribute to everyone’s quality of life. The farming lifestyle has been predominant in the past.  Today, though, maintaining agricultural viability and a rural heritage is an immense challenge.

On Feb. 28, “Planning Augusta” will feature Augusta County planners who will explain how the Comprehensive Plan is supposed to guide development. Find out what those colors on the Future Land Use Map mean, what ordinances require, and how county policies address the water, historic, and agricultural resources discussed in previous sessions.

The fifth presentation, “Conserve as You Grow Augusta,” is tentatively slated for March 27. Sara Hollberg, author of Better Models for Development, will explain why planning simultaneously for conservation and development has many benefits. From resource protection policies to individual site design, see examples of how strategic open space – in urban as well as rural settings – can be key to long-range fiscal and environmental health and quality of life.

The series wraps up with the presentation “Future Augusta, ” with a tentative date sometime in April.  The evening will be a quick recap of previous sessions that set the foundation for a group discussion of the most important issues and opportunities for Augusta County.

All of the programs are held at the Government Center in Verona at 7 p.m. and are free and open to the public. The ACP will provide refreshments each evening. For information, contact Sara Hollberg at 886-3541, or sara@valleyconservation.org.


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