Over the last two years, the Friendship Court Advisory Committee has provided crucial advocacy for the Friendship Court community through its thoughtful guidance and a clear conviction of purpose – the redevelopment of Friendship Court must unequivocally keep the aspirations and needs of the residents as its core focus.
The Advisory Committee is a team of nine Friendship Court residents elected by their neighbors and six members of the at-large Charlottesville community. They have met at least monthly over the past two years, sometimes twice a month during heavy work times.
In addition to engaging with fellow residents to gather insight and share information about the progress of redevelopment planning, the Advisory Committee members have been co-designing the redevelopment in partnership with other members of the design team, Grimm + Parker Architects, Timmons Group civil engineers, and Piedmont Housing Alliance staff. Part of this work is experiential, including design “charrettes” (charrettes are facilitated design brainstorm exercises) and educational trips to established mixed-income communities and successful early childhood education centers in other cities.
The work the Advisory Committee has accomplished to date is extraordinary. Their commitment and vision have been, and will continue to be, vital to the success of redevelopment. We are deeply grateful for their time and devotion.
The existing water infrastructure at Friendship Court is more than 40 years old and nearing the end of its expected life. Based on the analysis conducted for this study by the Timmons Group, the design team determined that phased redevelopment should replace this infrastructure.
Replacing the water infrastructure will ensure enough capacity on-site for the number of units ultimately developed. It is important to note that water distribution and wastewater collection are currently available to support the proposed Friendship Court redevelopment.
A major infrastructure component that will not change is Pollocks Branch, a stream that passes through a buried box culvert that runs diagonally across the existing green space. Pollocks Branch is part of the City’s stormwater system, and it drains approximately 100 acres of downtown Charlottesville. Since downtown is mostly made up of impervious areas like parking lots, streets, and sidewalks, Pollocks Branch carries a large amount of water during rainstorms.
Attempting to relocate the culvert would be expensive enough to make redevelopment impossible. However, the Strategic Investment Area Plan calls for creation of a greenway across the Friendship Court site. Keeping Pollocks Branch in place and running a greenway above it as it crosses the site offers an elegant way to meet the SIA Plan’s goal.
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What do you think? Continue the conversation with a comment below.
In our next Master Plan blog post, we’ll examine the planning framework that guides all aspects of the plan.
Source: Friendship Court Redevelopment Master Plan, December 2016 – What We Heard and What That Tells Us (Infrastructure Context)