This is the first in a series of newsletters and newscasts about community engagement in the area around Charlottesville. I’ve spent the last thirteen years very close to many different processes, and my goal with this newsletter is to bring you information every single day about what’s going on.
Over the weekend, there were three consecutive days where more than 800 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Virginia, That brings the cumulative number of cases to 70,670, with a reported 1,966 deaths. The 7-day percent positive metric for all testing encounters has risen from 5.9 percent on July 5 to 6.6 percent on Sunday. Meanwhile the Thomas Jefferson Health District reported 35 new cases on Sunday and 29 new cases on Saturday for a cumulative total of 1,208. There were also reports of outbreaks at two area long-term care facilities. Nationwide, there were 62,918 new cases reported in Virginia, for a total of 3.2 million. (Virginia Department of Health COVID-19 page)
A forecast model produced by the University of Virginia estimates that 495,799 cases of COVID-19 have been avoided since May 15 due to physical distancing and other measures. That comes from the July 10 update produced by the UVA Biocomplexity Institute, which also states that the novel coronavirus now has a reproduction rate of 1.124. That’s an indicator of how the disease spreads, and numbers above 1 raise concern. (July 10 update)
The community of Forest Lakes opted to close their outdoor pools on Friday, July 10 "out of an abundance of caution, due to an indirect exposure of the COVID virus." That's according to an email sent out by the Forest Lakes Community Association. They said the pools would reopen after being sanitized.
Charlottesville City Hall will reopen on a limited basis beginning on July 10 for in-person transactions with either the Commissioner of Revenue's office or Treasurer's office. However, you'll need to make an appointment to do so. (press release)
Moving on to Community Engagement news, Albemarle County has hired a Washington D.C. firm to help conduct a new round of analysis of the future of the area around the Rio Road and U.S. 29 intersection. Smart Growth America will "review and provide comments on a draft, form-based code for the Rio29 area and/or provide hypothetical design scenarios for properties in the study area." Supervisors adopted a master plan for the Rio-29 area in December 2018, and that included a recommendation to update the zoning ordinance to allow for creation of a "vibrant and diverse mixed-use community with interesting character and a human-scale built environment." Supervisors heard an update on the plan earlier this month.
A child care center that failed to get approval from Albemarle Supervisors for a new home on Pantops has purchased land on East Market Street in downtown Charlottesville. An LLC associated with Our Neighborhood Child Development Center has purchased the site of the former ABC Preschool on East Market Street for $1.325 million. That's about 20 percent below the 2020 assessment. ABC Preschool closed its doors last October five years after opening in a new building. In May, Supervisors deadlocked 3-3 on a request to build in the flood plain to allow for the Our Neighborhood center to move to a location on Stony Point Road.
And that’s it for the July 13 edition of the Community Engagement newscast, picking up from our last such event from late January 2019. The world has changed a lot since then, and I’m putting myself in a position to help bring you information to help get you through these times. Please consider supporting my Patreon account with a modest monthly donation so I can keep going and get my eye back on the world around us. I’m Sean Tubbs, and thanks for listening.