Greenway to nowhere
Perhaps you’ve noticed the small gravel trail that runs alongside McIntire Road, past the old Lane High School that now serves as the Albemarle County Office Building and the baseball field and then, seemingly, stops in its tracks at Harris Street. In 2006, the city began a project to build the multi-use trail, Schenk’s Greenway, as a connector between the office building and McIntire Park.
But the greenway has been closed and under construction since July 2015 for the first phase of a $1.5 million Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority project called the Upper Schenk’s Branch Interceptor Replacement, an upgrade to increase wastewater infrastructure capacity along that sewer line, according to RWSA spokesperson Teri Kent. It’s currently about 85 percent complete and scheduled for a substantial push in March with landscaping and site restoration finished this spring.
The trail will be paved to accommodate the expected increased use, says city trail planner Chris Gensic. The long-term trail plan is to connect the Downtown Mall and Preston Avenue to McIntire Park—Schenk’s Greenway will be the middle section of that trail.
So much presidential activity
On the same day Barack Obama handed over the keys to the White House to Donald Trump, UVA President Teresa Sullivan announced she would be leaving when her contract expires in summer 2018, and the university will begin a search for a new prez.
Jason Kessler, the man who dug up Vice-Mayor Wes Bellamy’s offensive tweets and who is collecting signatures to remove him from office, was arrested January 22 on the Downtown Mall for allegedly punching a man in the face, according to Tomas Harmon at the Newsplex. Kessler contends the punching was self-defense.
A new city political organization—Equity and Progress in Charlottesville—debuted January 17, and features former elected officials such as Dave Norris and Dede Smith. It hopes to tap into the Bernie Sanders’ progressivism and elect candidates to tackle income inequity and affordable housing.
New Dominion Bookshop’s loss
Long-time owner Carol Troxell, 68, died unexpectedly January 18, the Daily Progress reports. Troxell bought the Downtown Mall store in the mid-’80s, and made it a popular haven for author readings and Virginia Festival of the Book events.
State parks high
Governor Terry McAuliffe says attendance in 2016 was a record, with 10,022,698 visitors, which topped 2015 by 12 percent.
The General Assembly has been in session two weeks, and here’s a snapshot of what’s happening.
- Redistricting: Delegate Steve Landes, one of Albemarle’s four delegates (thank you gerrymandering), carried a constitutional amendment to take the politics out of electoral line drawing.
- Misdemeanor DNA: Albemarle Sheriff Chip Harding and Commonwealth’s Attorney Robert Tracci called for a study to expand DNA collection for misdemeanors like trespassing, petit larceny and assault in a bill carried by Delegate David Toscano and co-patroned by Landes.
- Removal of elected officials: Already difficult in Virginia and requiring a petition signed by 10 percent of voters in the last election, this bill requires 20 percent of the voters’ signatures and a special election.
- Bathroom bill: Delegate Bob Marshall’s bill, modeled after North Carolina’s, died quietly in a Republican-controlled subcommittee January 19.
Quote of the Week:
“Charlottesville is a ‘beautiful ugly city.’” —The Reverend Brenda Brown-Grooms’ description used at former vice-mayor Holly Edwards’ January 12 funeral was echoed—twice—at City Council January 17.
Correction: Equity and Progress in Charlottesville was misidentified in the original version.