Category Archives: Advisory Committee

Friendship Court Advisory Committee Meets with Grimm + Parker

Grimm + Parker image

On October 26, 2017, the Friendship Court Advisory Committee held their monthly meeting at the architecture firm Grimm + Parker’s downtown Charlottesville offices. As background, the Advisory Committee is comprised of nine Friendship Court residents and six subject matter Charlottesville residents; last year, after an extensive interview process, the Advisory Committee selected Grimm + Parker to work with us through the design of the redevelopment.

This joint architect and Advisory Committee meeting took the form of a design charrette.  A charrette is a process of thoughtfully exploring design options for a site or building. In this case, the charrette focused on the Phase 1 of redevelopment for Friendship Court.

At this first design charrette, those gathered took a very close look at the details of Phase 1 of the redevelopment to better understand the options and priorities. Some of the questions posed were: What are the physical constraints of the site? What building types should be provided for residents? What are the pros and cons of different parking plans?

Grimm+ Parker charette

By the end of the meeting, it became clear that we need to find the right balance of families with different incomes to create a successful project. The group considered the values and desires of both current and potential future Friendship Court residents in conjunction with the physical design challenges. One resident member of the committee said, “We knew there was a lot involved, but really had no idea how much!”

On November 29, the group will take a bus to Washington, DC to tour three relevant housing developments there. This trip will afford a first-hand view into the way other communities have handled similar development challenges. Those on the tour will have the opportunity to ask questions and engage directly with the residents of these housing developments. The tour will hopefully become an invaluable resource to help the committee as they delve even deeper into the project details, including phasing, construction timing, and community cohesion.

Following the bus tour, on November 30, the Advisory Committee will participate in a follow up design charrette to continue to translate their aspirations and observations.

In January / February 2018, the committee will review plans that have resulted from the charrettes and site visits.  Soon after, discussions with the broader community of Friendship Court residents will take place in order to make sure everyone has a chance to provide input in shaping the new community plan.

For more information, contact Sunshine Mathon at smathon@piedmonthousing.org.

 

Friendship Court Resident Angela Brooks Becomes Newest Member of the Advisory Committee

Angela Brooks

Angela Brooks is a young mom with two teenaged sons. Friendship Court has been her home for more than fifteen years, and she’s seen a lot of changes in that time. “It’s definitely gotten better,” she says, “but there’s room for improvement.” That’s why Angela joined two committees focused on staying informed and providing input throughout redevelopment. An active member of the Residents’ Association, Angela volunteered to join the Advisory Committee as well. “I want to see what’s going on and stay informed. I want all the residents to be treated equally. I can help reassure other people in the neighborhood if I’m getting information firsthand instead of second- or third-hand.”

Angela works as a teacher of two-and-a-half to three-year-old children at Park Street Christian Preschool by day and cleans office buildings at night, leaving her little free time. It is noteworthy, then, that Angela chooses to spend some of that time attending meetings and making connections with community stakeholders involved in Friendship Court’s redevelopment.

“I think redevelopment is going to help the community be a friendlier, calmer place and a good place to call home. I’m looking forward to all the improvements to the apartments,” she said.

We’re delighted to have another long-term Friendship Court resident contributing to the redevelopment conversation. Welcome, Angela!

Friendship Court Residents are Shaping the Future

PHA Friendship Court Resident Shaping the Future Youth Leadership Team Advisory Committee

Throughout 2016, residents of Friendship Court of all ages have been engaged in conversations about redevelopment. Two leadership groups have emerged from this effort, the Friendship Court Advisory Committee, a team of seven residents elected by their neighbors and six members of the at-large community, and the Youth Leadership Program.

The Advisory Committee was integral in the door-to-door effort to gather feedback on the redevelopment Master Plan from each and every Friendship Court resident. Upcoming efforts will focus on gaining quality of life improvements for the community, the plan for an early childhood education center, workforce development and phase one design including architect selection.

The Youth Leadership Program consists of eight resident teens who will meet regularly over two years’ time, developing skills and offering insights for the community’s redevelopment. Sessions will focus on land use planning, community engagement, and related job skills training. In the last few months the teens have gone on a field trip to Charlottesville City Hall and learned interview and research skills from University of Virginia graduate students.

Piedmont Housing Alliance is committed to deepening and expanding meaningful relationships and leadership opportunities within the Friendship Court community to better serve the residents that live there.

 

Meet Tamara Wright, Member of the Friendship Court Advisory Committee

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Tamara Wright is one of seven residents of Friendship Court nominated and elected by her fellow residents, in February 2016, to serve on the Friendship Court Advisory Committee. The committee, which has been meeting regularly with the project’s design team, is providing guidance to Piedmont Housing Alliance in two primary areas: physical revitalization and community life.

A busy mother of three, Tamara still finds ways to be involved in her community, including her service on the advisory committee. She also serves on the Urban Agricultural Collective of Charlottesville (UACC) board of directors and is a member of the Friendship Court Residents Association. UACC has been a key partner at Friendship Court for nine years.  It is so important to have dedicated community members like Tamara involved in different aspects of planning Friendship Court’s future, including building on the vision for community life that Todd Neimeier (“Farmer Todd”) and UACC have developed with local residents over many years.

In addition to raising her children, as a single mother, and her community commitments, Tamara also works part-time, and has been pursuing a degree from Piedmont Virginia Community College.

Meet Sarah McLean, Member of the Friendship Court Advisory Committee

Sarah McLean

Sarah McLean, a Director of the Adiuvans Relief Fund and the Adiuvans Foundation, a local philanthropy, is a member of the Friendship Court Advisory Committee. The committee will provide guidance to the Piedmont Housing Alliance in two primary areas: physical revitalization and community life.

In her work with Adiuvans, Sarah focuses on early intervention for young children and on a wide range of projects in the areas of health care, affordable housing, and food insecurity in the greater Charlottesville area. Through this work, Sarah has had the opportunity to learn about and support Piedmont Housing Alliance’s affordable housing efforts. Sarah is passionate about meeting the needs of our community’s most vulnerable residents, especially its families. She sees the redevelopment of Friendship Court as a unique opportunity to design affordable housing with an eye to accessibility, education, community health, and family support.

Sarah has a deep interest in public health, which she puts into practice as a volunteer nurse at the Greene County Free Clinic. She also serves on the board of The Arbor, a Charlottesville not-for-profit that provides a residential recovery program for survivors of human trafficking. She is a member of the Charlottesville/Albemarle Early Education Task Force, exploring the provision of accessible, high-quality pre-K for at-risk children in our community. Sarah received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing from the University of Virginia. She lives in Free Union with her husband and four children.

Meet Zafar Khan, A Member of the Friendship Court Advisory Committee

Zafar Khan is one of seven residents of Friendship Court nominated and elected by his fellow residents, in February 2016, to serve on the Friendship Court Advisory Committee.

The committee, which has been meeting regularly with the project’s design team, is providing guidance to Piedmont Housing Alliance in two primary areas: physical revitalization and community life. “The people that . . . know Friendship Court are the people that live there,” Frank Grosch, Piedmont Housing’s CEO, has said. The redevelopment process is intended to “pair up the experts at Friendship Court, the people who live there, with city planners and a world-class team of designers to build a beautiful and vibrant community.”

Originally from Afghanistan, Zafar has a professional background in establishing peace, and organizing workshops and conferences. For eleven years, he worked with the United Nations. Zafar is currently a student at Piedmont Virginia Community College, and has also worked for the International Rescue Committee as an interpreter on a volunteer basis, since coming to Charlottesville. He hopes to bring his skills and experience working with a wide variety of people to the advisory committee.

 

Meet Yolonda Ross, Member of the Friendship Court Advisory Committee

Yolonda Ross is one of seven residents of Friendship Court nominated and elected by her fellow residents, in February 2016, to serve on the Friendship Court Advisory Committee. The committee, which has been meeting regularly with the project’s design team, is providing guidance to Piedmont Housing Alliance in two primary areas: physical revitalization and community life.

Yolonda has been a resident of Friendship Court for five years, and her daughter attends Clark Elementary school. She has a particular interest in representing the perspective of community residents who are working, and are interested in better local employment opportunities.

She is a graduate of Fluvanna County High School, and of National College (formerly, National Business College) where she received training as a medical office specialist.

Meet Crystal Johnson, Member of the Friendship Court Advisory Committee

Crystal Johnson is one of seven residents of Friendship Court nominated and elected by her fellow residents, in February 2016, to serve on the Friendship Court Advisory Committee. The committee, which has been meeting regularly with the project’s design team, is providing guidance to Piedmont Housing Alliance in two primary areas: physical revitalization and community life.

Crystal is a mother of six children. Her school-aged children attend Charlottesville City Schools, and her family has lived at Friendship Court for a total of ten years. A domestic violence survivor, Crystal says she is interested in being part of the positive changes she sees happening in her Friendship Court community, and has gotten to know other families who feel the same way. She wishes to be a part of a more unified neighborhood and community, and is interested to learn about what her neighbors think and care about through her work on the Advisory Committee.

Crystal is a member of First Baptist Church, where she has volunteered as a Sunday School and Vacation Bible School teaching assistant. She will be graduating from Piedmont Virginia Community College this spring, and plans to continue her studies at Mary Baldwin College.

Meet Kathy Galvin, Member of the Friendship Court Advisory Committee

Kathy Galvin

Kathy Galvin, a member of Charlottesville City Council, is serving on Friendship Court’s Advisory Committee, formed in February 2016. The committee is providing guidance to the Piedmont Housing Alliance in two primary areas: physical revitalization and community life. The active involvement of City officials in the planning process is an essential element of grant support, provided to Piedmont Housing by the City, for the project. 

Kathy owns her own urban design and architectural practice, which is designated a Virginia “Woman-Owned Small Business.” She is also an adjunct faculty member at the University of Virginia. Kathy has worked on such projects as the Eastern Planning Initiative, the Crozet Master Plan, the Places29 Master Plan and Transportation Study and the Uptown North Orange Form-Based Code.

Kathy notes that “as an architect, urban designer and planner with about 30 years of experience . . . she has a trained eye when it comes to matters of sustainable, equitable neighborhood design.” She also believes that “it’s important to have people at the table with institutional memory so that expressed community values aren’t forgotten.”

Kathy received a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Geography from Boston University, and a master’s in Architecture from the University of Virginia.

Meet Quanelius Tinsley, Member of the Friendship Court Advisory Committee

Quanelius TinsleyQuanelius Tinsley is one of seven residents of Friendship Court nominated and elected by her fellow residents, in February 2016, to serve on the Friendship Court Advisory Committee. The committee, which has been meeting regularly with the project’s design team, is providing guidance to Piedmont Housing Alliance in two primary areas: physical revitalization and community life. Quanelius is a senior at Charlottesville High School and has lived at Friendship Court for ten years. She plans to start her college studies in the Fall.

Myrtle Houchens, another member of the Advisory Committee, knows Quanelius from her summer work providing dinners for Friendship Court’s children and youth at the neighborhood’s community center. Quanelius has been helping with this effort for years and, “at this point, she could probably run the kids’ café herself,” Myrtle says, admiringly.

Quanelius says she loves her community and wants it to be better for the newcomers who will be moving to Friendship Court in the future. It’s this energy that a grant from the Jessie Ball duPont Fund to The University of Virginia, supporting Piedmont Housing’s redevelopment efforts, seeks to tap into. The grant, of $100,000 over two years, supports community engagement at Friendship Court, in particular the involvement of teens, like Quanelius, in the planning for the future of their community. The program will include lessons about sustainable, equitable land-use and urban planning.