The Charlottesville Area Community Foundation is pleased to announce the recipient of its third round of Strengthening Systems grants. Piedmont Environmental Council and the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission received a two-year grant of $179,804 to complete plans and generate active community support for a regional bike and pedestrian trail network and begin implementation. The partners will work closely with Charlottesville City, Albemarle County, community leaders, neighborhoods and property owners to develop a shared vision for the trail system. The partners envision a trail network that connects our neighborhoods, retail areas, and places of work with other community resources such as Monticello, the Downtown Mall, UVA Grounds, the Rivanna River and Biscuit Run State Park.
The partners explained, “Various bicycle and pedestrian planning documents already lay out most of the pieces of the puzzle that would be needed to make an interconnected off-street and on-street system. However, none of these plans has had the level of ownership, investment, and community support needed to move them from a plan on the shelf to implementation.”
The Foundation’s investment will help the partners overcome barriers to building a regional greenway network. Grant funding will support a significant community engagement process that enables the community to contribute to the shared vision, stay up to date on plans and projects, and express support and ideas.
“We are excited to help our community realize a regional greenway system that connects people with the places they work, live and play,” said Anne Scott, President and CEO of the Community Foundation. “The primary purpose of these grants is to improve our community’s systems and we look forward to seeing this grant enable partners to move from fragmented plans to a shared community vision that can be implemented.”
The Community Foundation has awarded more than $1,070,000 through its Strengthening Systems grant track since the track was introduced in 2015. Based on the idea that communities are best served when systems work well and services and activities are available to all, these multi-year grants help improve the functioning of community systems and access to those systems. Through previous Strengthening Systems grants, Piedmont Virginia Community College and Charlottesville Albemarle Technical Education Center (CATEC) are creating community career pathways to middle-skill jobs; Louisa County Resource Council and University of Virginia are mapping areas of food insecurity in Louisa County to determine alternate food distribution strategies; Charlottesville Works Initiative is helping low-income jobseekers obtain and retain sustainable-wage jobs; and Public Housing Association of Residents, Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority, and the City of Charlottesville are working together to create actionable public-housing redevelopment plans. The Foundation also remains committed to working with partners who are addressing other pressing issues in our community. These grants are all made possible thanks to the generous support of donors and an annual contribution to the Foundation’s discretionary grantmaking from Dorothy Batten.
For more information about the Community Foundation, visit www.cacfonline.org.