Friendship Court residents gathered on February 16th at the community center to learn and share ideas about the future redevelopment over dinner with neighbors. Residents engaged with Piedmont Housing Alliance staff and the Grimm and Parker architectural team working on Phase 1 of the redevelopment. Residents interacted with photos of other housing communities and answered the questions: What are your favorite things about Friendship Court? What do you want us to know about your community? Residents also talked with and gave feedback to other community partners related to City street planning and Charlottesville City Schools. A delicious dinner was provided by Afghan Kabob and Wayside Chicken. Kids got to indulge in fun photo booth activities during the night. Residents are encouraged to talk with Community Organizer Claudette Grant at the community center and to join us for quarterly community dinner meetings scheduled for May 11th, August 17th and November 16th.
The Friendship Court Advisory Committee continues to meet monthly. Their February meeting will include a kick-off meeting with members of recently-formed work groups focused on creating an Early Childhood Education Center and a Workforce Development Program. The Advisory Committee will also discuss ongoing resident engagement to inform physical and programmatic aspects of the redevelopment.
Emma Johnson has lived in Charlottesville for a long time, mostly as a resident at Friendship Court Apartments. Originally from Nelson County, Emma moved back to the area after living in Ohio for much of her life. Emma said she knew she wanted to retire to this area where she spent her early years. She decided to move to Friendship Court after her youngest daughter started college at the University of Virginia because it was affordable and new. Emma, mother to six children, moved into the community after she had been living on Anderson Street, in the 10th and Page neighborhood in Charlottesville. At the time, Emma said they were still finishing the construction of Friendship Court. There was a church on the property where people would go for service on Sundays. Emma said she had her own church, but sometimes she would go to the one at Friendship Court and has fond memories of it.
When she was in her early thirties, Emma came to work in Charlottesville as a textile worker, not far from Friendship Court, at the historic IX building. Emma recalls Frank Ix fondly, saying she would ask him what he planned to do after he retired. She claims he would say simply, “Oh, I don’t know, Emma, I suppose I will just go home and do nothing.” At the time, she says, she always knew she could talk to Mr. Ix about any troubles she had and he would help straighten things out.
Emma leads a busy lifestyle for a 90-year-old. She opens her door often to any one of her 15 grandchildren and she likes to get out and do most of her own shopping. She enjoys reading and sewing and taking care of her home. Emma, who has lived at Friendship Court now for close to 40 years, said she is excited about the changes to come. “I think it’s going to be really nice. I like the idea of changes around here.” She likes the idea of being able to take an elevator up and down so she doesn’t have to take the stairs. Emma approves of the “hop-scotch” phasing approach to the redevelopment so that no one is displaced. She says it “all sounds just great!”
The neighbors take care of Ms. Johnson at Friendship Court. She said I believe in treating people the way you want to be treated and that’s just what she does, “I am nice to people and they are nice back to me. That’s how to be a good neighbor. I was brought up the right way.”
Emma said she has always been treated well at Friendship Court. Piedmont Housing Alliance looks forward to continuing to treat her well and to starting the positive changes at Friendship Court soon.
Emilee Martin is one of eight Friendship Court residents on the Youth Leadership Team. The team has been meeting regularly after school since September at the Friendship Court Community Center and is learning many skills to help better their community. The Youth Leadership Program is part of Piedmont Housing Alliance’s resident engagement process for the redevelopment of Friendship Court. The goal is to equip resident youth leaders with the skills to provide input for the redevelopment with particular focus on activity areas, green space, and programming. Youth participants gain valuable skills, experiences, and academic and professional networks that will create educational and career opportunities.
Emilee, 12, loves to eat enchiladas and is a pop music lover. She says that she is learning how to evaluate and do research while being a member of the youth leadership team.
Emilee is interested in being a member of the team so that she can be aware of what is going to happen with the redevelopment in order to be more prepared.
Angel (Addy) Martin is one of eight Friendship Court residents on the Youth Leadership Team. The team has been meeting regularly after school since September at the Friendship Court Community Center and is learning many skills to help better their community. The Youth Leadership Program is part of Piedmont Housing Alliance’s resident engagement process for the redevelopment of Friendship Court. The goal is to equip resident youth leaders with the skills to provide input for the redevelopment with particular focus on activity areas, green space, and programming. Youth participants gain valuable skills, experiences, and academic and professional networks that will create educational and career opportunities.
Addy, 16, is the oldest of six children and is a junior at Charlottesville High School. Addy enjoys drawing and loves the color navy blue. He is learning a lot more about the neighborhood, the community garden, and how to conduct an interview, to name a few things.
Addy’s interest in being a member of the Youth Leadership Team came from wanting to learn more about what is going on with the redevelopment of Friendship Court. Addy is interested in having a voice in the changes to come.
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.
Alex Ikefuna, Charlottesville Neighborhood Development Services; Gail Esterman, ReadyKids; Ron Enders, PHA board member; Frank Grosch, PHA CEO; Ramona Chapman, PHA board member; Cathy Train, United Way; Sheri Hopper, PHA Advisory Committee member; Stephanie Massie, ReadyKids; Claudette Grant, PHA Community Organizer at Friendship Court; Myrtle Houchens, PHA Advisory Committee member; Erika Viccellio, United Way; Beth Kennan, PHA Project Manager; Sarah McLean, PHA Advisory Committee member; and Karen Reifenberger, PHA COO
On Tuesday, September 20, Piedmont Housing Alliance led a bus tour to explore exceptional early childhood education centers in both Norfolk and Richmond. The tour included Piedmont Housing staff, several board members, Friendship Court Advisory Committee members, and community representatives from the United Way, ReadyKids and the City of Charlottesville.
The group toured two schools: The New E3 School in Norfolk, and the Weinstein JCC in Richmond. The schools were selected because they represent two ends of a spectrum in early childhood education philosophy. The New E3 School is based on a curriculum developed by the University of Virginia’s Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning. The Weinstein JCC program is based around the Reggio Emilia philosophy of education.
The purpose of the trip is to gain information about early childhood centers that have successfully attracted a mixed income population, with an eye toward the creation of an early childhood center at Friendship Court, as an element of that community’s redevelopment, beginning in 2019.
While on the tour, participants were able to visit classrooms and play areas, talk with staff, learn about school philosophies and visions, as well as methods of operations. Key learnings from the operations help inform how multiple levels of income and tuition can be accommodated and attract a truly diverse population.
The team will compile their findings and continue the discussion with area early childhood education stakeholders, as plans for Friendship Court continue to evolve.
Posted in Community News and Events, Redevelopment Updates
Tagged advisory committee, Early Childhood Education Centers, Friendship Court, friendship court redevelopment, Neighborhood Development Services, New E3 School, ReadyKids, Reggio Emilia Philosophy, United Way, Weinstein JCC
On Tuesday, September 13th, several teenagers met after school to celebrate their participation in the Youth Leadership Program at Friendship Court. Part of Piedmont Housing Alliance’s resident engagement process for the redevelopment of Friendship Court, the Youth Leadership Program equips resident youth leaders to provide input for the redevelopment, with particular focus on activity areas, green space, and programming. It is also a program through which the youth will gain valuable skills, experiences, and academic and professional networks that will create educational and career opportunities.
The kids welcomed to the meeting Liz Ogbu, architect and founder of Studio O, who has been the lead designer for the master plan process and has led several teen focus groups over the past six months. Liz talked with the teens about the latest design plan and the next steps for the redevelopment. The kids also presented Liz with a cake as a thank you for all of her hard work and dedication to the planning process and the community’s future. Community Organizer Claudette Grant said, “Liz talked with the kids about what it’s like to work as an architect and left them excited to be a part of the redevelopment of their community.”
The Youth Leadership Team will meet on a weekly basis for a period of two years.
We are excited to present our work to date on the Master Plan for the future of Friendship Court. The plan incorporates the work of many of you, including Friendship Court residents, City leaders and staff, our design team, and others in the community.
For the 150 families who call Friendship Court home – including more than 250 children – redevelopment means opportunity, hope for a brighter future, and uncertainty about how it will all unfold. For the larger Charlottesville community, redevelopment represents the chance to remake a large part of our downtown and to get it right, creating new housing, jobs, and infrastructure without displacing anyone. Our goals for the new Friendship Court include mixed income housing in a mixed-use community, with 150 units of Section 8 assisted housing, additional affordable and workforce housing, and a large complement of market-rate housing.
We are excited for the future of Friendship Court, and we want your feedback. Please review the Master Plan Update and let us know what you think.
You can provide your feedback by contacting Claudette Grant, Community Organizer, at the community center, at 295-9794, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. You are also welcome to provide your feedback through this quick survey below. Please be sure to click “done” after the three questions. Thanks!
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The design team returned to Charlottesville again this May to meet with stakeholders, Piedmont Housing Alliance staff and residents of all ages at Friendship Court Apartments. A variety of meetings were held also with the City of Charlottesville and other SIA participants to further collaborate on the redevelopment plan for Friendship Court.
One of the highlights of the trip was the resident dinner held at the community center on Thursday, May 12. Moe’s Original BBQ was set up outside providing a tasty meal while Piedmont Housing Alliance’s CEO, Frank Grosch, made a presentation on the current status of the redevelopment with several illustrations and potential renderings of the new site. After dinner, as people trickled in and out of the center to grab dessert from the Sweet Tooth ice cream truck, the design team members made themselves available for kids and adults alike to respond to questions and to hear first-hand exactly what they are working on. Karen Reifenberger, Piedmont Housing Alliance’s COO added, “It was such a great opportunity for the residents to get out and be able to see real renderings of what’s to come and for them to be able to ask concrete questions about the redevelopment.”
Claudette Grant, Community Organizer at Friendship Court who was present for the teen workshop with Liz Ogbu said, “Teens were very excited to see the renderings of the potential apartments. They could not believe it!” One young teen in the workshop commented, “It looks like a place where rich people live.”
June 20, 21, 22 marks the final visit by the design team who plan to unveil the master plan which will really give everyone great insight into the final plans for a brighter future after 2018.