Local projects recognized by Valley Conservation Council
The Valley Conservation Council announced the winners of its 2011 Better Models for Development Awards at a ceremony held on May 25 at Court Square Theater in Downtown Harrisonburg. This year’s 12 winners demonstrate a variety of approaches to building and development that enhance the character of Shenandoah Valley communities while minimizing impacts on resources.
“We honor projects that show successful innovation right here in our backyard,” said Sara Hollberg, author of VCC’s book, Better Models for Development in the Shenandoah Valley 2010. “Each developer and each community has choices they can make that will help keep the Valley a unique, beautiful, and vibrant place even as we continue to grow and prosper. These projects and many like them demonstrate these better ways to develop.”
The local winners for 2011 include the following projects in Waynesboro, Staunton and Greenville.
Coyner Springs Water Treatment Plant (Waynesboro, Virginia)
Award: “Best Public Building Design”
Recipient: City of Waynesboro
Coyner Springs holds a special place in the hearts of many in the Waynesboro area. Its historic rock-lined water channels and picnic shelters have been a favored recreation spot for generations. The challenge of creating a new water treatment facility at this site was taken as an opportunity to respect local character in new construction and to demonstrate that infrastructure projects can be both functional and very attractive. The City of Waynesboro designed a building that fits the Coyner Springs’ park setting. The design team embraced a barn style and natural materials that complement the beauty of the area and local architectural traditions. The project was directed by the Department of Public Works with architectural design by FPW Architects, construction by Anderson Construction, and engineering by Draper Aden.
Churchville Avenue Rehabilitation Project (Staunton, Virginia)
Award: “Excellence in Street Design”
Recipient: City of Staunton
When Churchville Avenue, the narrow thoroughfare connecting downtown Staunton to the park and parts west was widened for several blocks to add turn lanes, the city also designed the strip to be beautiful and pedestrian friendly. Standing at either end of the redone section are the Staunton Public Library and the Old Lee High School. These landmarks now are connected by a lovely boulevard with brick crosswalks and sidewalks, street trees, and specially designed street lights. Most of this length is adjacent to Peyton Creek. Shade trees were planted on this section and understory spring flowering trees in front of the former school. The pedestrian experience is much improved, with sidewalks restored on the north side and the change in materials on the crosswalks heightening driver awareness of the presence of pedestrians. This increasingly traveled pedestrian corridor extends out of downtown to key destinations. It also is largely residential, so the city followed its corridor design guidelines to specify full-cut light fixtures and lower intensity and even light distribution. The difference is striking at night. Staunton laid out strong guidelines for pedestrian, aesthetic, and environmental goals, with input from local groups such as Historic Staunton Foundation and the Staunton Downtown Development Association. VDOT’s Staunton Region Design Unit responded to the challenge. The project also benefited from the contributions of Fielder’s Choice Enterprises and AMT Engineering and ongoing coordination among the city’s public works, engineering, horticultural, and planning staffs.
Greenville Mini-Mall Bioretention Project (Greenville, Virginia)
Award: “Best Environmental Site Design”
Recipients: County of Augusta, Gary and Linda Scrogham, with recognition of many partners
Through the efforts of a broad array of partners, an ugly, non-functioning stormwater retention basin at the Greenville Mini-mall has been revamped into an attractive and successful bioretention basin featuring a variety of native plants. When property owners Gary and Linda Scrogham asked for help with drainage issues, their local county supervisor Nancy Sorrells saw the opportunity to use forward-thinking low impact development techniques. The new “rain garden” has not only solved the drainage problems but also made a striking visual improvement at a prominent location in the community.
A cast of helpful professionals and citizens donated time, expertise, and plants. Students from Riverheads High School participated in the project, learning to pot and plant the plants and the reasons behind the redesign. Technical expertise was important. Doug Coleman of the Wintergreen Nature Foundation helped choose the species and educate the students. Local firm Turfco oversaw the specialized soil mixture and the planting. Volunteers from the Virginia Native Plant Society located and donated native plants and the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation helped with funding and advising on the project. The owners gracefully accepted the expanded project, with the challenges of design innovations and extra partners, including hosting student groups. The county too moved a long way, from requiring a waiver for rain gardens at the beginning of the project, to rewriting its ordinances to not only allow but encourage bioretention as a method for managing stormwater.
VCC honors projects from throughout the region as examples of how to grow in ways that respect local character, create livable communities, complement historic resources, and conserve natural assets. Other award winning projects for 2011 were from Berryville, Boyce, Luray, Harrisonburg, Lexington, Buena Vista, Daleville, Eagle Rock, and Botetourt County.
The projects demonstrate one or more of the principles outlined in VCC’s Better Models for Development in the Shenandoah Valley 2010. VCC’s website has more information about the publication and profiles of other award winners. Visit www.valleyconservation.org.
UVA Basketball Fans!
Dick Vitale on Team of Destiny: “This is a hoops story you will LOVE! Jerry and Chris capture the sensational and dramatic championship journey by Tony Bennett and his tenacious Cavalier team. UVA was Awesome Baby and so is this book!”
Ralph Sampson on Team of Destiny: “Jerry and Chris have lived and seen it all, even before my time. I highly recommend this book to every basketball fan across the globe. This story translates to all who know defeat and how to overcome it!”
Feedback from buyers: “Got the Book in the Mail Saturday, and could not put it down! Great read and great photography as well! Love all of the books I’ve received, but hands down, this is my favorite!” – Russell