The Current yesterday ran a "forum" piece regarding the proposed Blacksburg workforce housing project that's been hotly debated; it appears that the forum was a response to this October 5th editorial.
Please tell me this was a joke. Honestly. I'm confused as to the message this sends to community residents.
- "Residents ... would have the convenience of having elementary, middle and (proposed) high schools; churches; parks; recreation fields; and grocery and other shopping located one mile or less from their neighborhood"
- "Blacksburg Transit service would be extended to the site ..."
- the residents would enjoy "social and environmental benefits of living in an EarthCraft designed and certified community -- the first such proposed project in Virginia"
Why is the Blacksburg Housing and Community Development Advisory Board determining that the best place to put an affordable housing project is outside the Town limits? At least on the Harding Avenue site we were attempting to annex the property so that it'd be within the Town boundaries and it has easier access to downtown, but to say the Merrimac Road location is the best solution is crazy. The whole goal of the project is to find a location where residents can easily interact with things happening within the Town while utilizing current roads, public transportation and walking and biking trails, but as it is now the Merrimac Road location is outside of Town limits, and provides no easy alternative to get in and out of the downtown area other than Price's Fork Road. I haven't driven it - yet - but I'd guess the Merrimac Road location is nearly 5 miles from Main Street and College Avenue, widely regarded as the "center" of downtown. The Harding Avenue location is maybe half that, and for the most part follows established bike paths and suburban streets? Furthermore, to extend Blacksburg Transit just to serve this community smacks of "thank us for our generosity." The Harding Avenue had a bus stop literally yards away, eliminating the need for heavy rerouting of buses and scheduling.
The forum goes on to say that the project will be green and efficient, and will be the first such project proposed in Virginia. If they're referring to affordable housing that may be the case, but I don't think it's the first EarthCraft certified community in the state, nor is it the first in Blacksburg.
I have a hard time understanding why Merrimac Road makes more sense. I think it just reeks of elitism and ulterior motives, and I hope you can work it out with the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors to fix this one.