Charlottesville Community Engagement
Charlottesville Community Engagement
September 20, 2023: UVA Buildings and Grounds Committee reviews three projects at Fontaine Research Park

September 20, 2023: UVA Buildings and Grounds Committee reviews three projects at Fontaine Research Park

Plus: Minority Business Alliance awards $40,000 in enterprise grants

September 20 is the 263rd day of this year, a period of sun-loop that many refer to as 2023. That means the year is now 72 percent full, which is as good enough as a segue as any to tell you this is also National School Backpack Awareness Day. Readers and listeners are asked to make sure that anyone in your lives who use such a conveyance device to do so safely. I’m Sean Tubbs, because of course I am. Who else would write Charlottesville Community Engagement? 

On today’s program:

  • Campaign finance reports are out for candidates in Fluvanna, Louisa, Nelson, and Greene counties 

  • The Minority Business Alliance and the United Way award $40,000 in grants to business owners through the ENVISON initiative 

  • The Buildings and Grounds Committee of the University of Virginia Board of Visitors review three big projects at the Fontaine Research Center 

  • And podcast listeners get the audio from two stories from the last installment  

New here? If you sign up, you’ll get each edition emailed to you for free. I do ask for people to pay, but I won’t neg or be. I just want you to know things and be clear about who pays me.

First shout-out: Black Business Expo coming up on September 22

In today’s first Patreon-fueled shout-out, WTJU 91.1 FM wants you to know about the Charlottesville-Albemarle Black Business Expo, coming up on September 22 at the Ix Park from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. 

This year’s Black Business Expo includes an exhibition of booths operated by Black-owned businesses, three panel discussions by leading professionals, a business pitch competition, live music entertainment, and more.

Acclaimed reggae artist Mighty Joshua headlines the event starting at 7:30 p.m. Newly formed Charlottesville super-group Afro Asia opens at 6 p.m.

Learn more about the event at and there is still time to register as a vendor. 

Campaign finance reports for Supervisor races in Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa and Nelson 

Early voting begins in two days across Virginia and there are still a lot of stories to tell about who’s running where and how much their campaigns have raised so far.  Thanks to the Virginia Public Access Project, it’s possible to look this information up.

Fluvanna County 

In Fluvanna, there are two seats up for election on the Board of Supervisors. Neither incumbent opted to run for reelection to another term.

In the Fork Union District, Independent David Michael Goad faces fellow independent Horace Jefferson Scruggs III to replace outgoing Supervisor Mozell Booker. 

In the latest campaign finance report, Goad raised $7,164 and spent $5,488 to have an ending balance of $5,488. Scruggs had $3,740 in the bank on July 1, raised $1,006, spent $1,846, and had $2,900 as of August 31. 

Patricia Eager is not running for another term in the Palmyra District. On the ballot are independents James Schoenster and Timothy Michael Hodges. 

Schoenster began the period with $2,539, raised $1,506, and spent $1,771 to have a balance of $2,274 going into September. Hodges began the period with $1,409, raised $1,800, and spent $1,573. That leaves a balance of $1,635. 

Greene County 

One out of two Supervisor races is on the ballot in Greene County. Independent Davis Lamb is unopposed in his reelection for another term representing the Ruckersville District. 

Independents Todd Michael Sansom and Frances Xavier McGuigan are on the ballot. Sansom had $500 in his campaign account on July 1, raised $2,000, and spent $1,307. That leaves $1,192 as of August 31. McGuigan began with no funds, raised $1,697, and spent $1,175. 

Louisa County

Three out of the seven Supervisor seats are on the ballot in Louisa County. 

Three candidates are seeking to replace the retiring Eric F. Purcell in the Louisa District. They are independents Greg D. Jones, Sr. and H. Manning Woodward, III as well as Republican Christopher J. "Chris" Colsey.

Jones is a former member of the Planning Commission and is the former president of the Louisa NAACP. His campaign began the period with $750 and raised $5,285 through August 31. The campaign spent $2,063 to have an ending balance of $3,971. 

Woodward had $4,767 on hand on July 1 and did not raise any money during the period. The campaign spent $1,850 in the two months to have $2,916 as of August 31. Woodward is a member of the Planning Commission. 

Colsey began the period with $547 in the bank and raised $2,210 in July and August. The campaign spent $1,597 and had an ending balance of $1,160. 

Republican Chris McCotter is the sole candidate in the Cuckoo District. His campaign had $1,813 on July 1, raised $1,300, and spent $1,701. That leaves a balance of $1,411. 

Republican Toni Williams is the only candidate listed in the Jackson District. He did not turn in a report which likely means there was no campaign finance activity. You only have to file if there’s something to report. 

Nelson County 

There are two Supervisor seats on the ballot. 

There are two newcomers seeking the South District position that will be vacated by Robert Barton. Independent Mary Kathryn Allen faces Republican Jessica Ligon.

Ligon began July 1 with $557 in the campaign account and raised $1,000 from the Nelson County Republican Committee. There were no expenditures.   

Allen had $60 in the bank to start the period, raised no money, and spent no money. 

In the West District, Republican incumbent J. David Parr is seeking another term and has a challenger in Independent Mark Franklin. 

Parr began the campaign finance period with $50, received $1,000 from the Nelson County Republican Committee and spent $2 at Atlantic Union Bank. That’s a balance of $1,048 at the end of August. 

Franklin had $25 to begin the period, raised no money, spent $4, and had $21 at the end of the period. 

United Way and Minority Business Alliance announces $40,000 in grant awards

Eight businesses in the community have been awarded grant funding through a collaboration between the United Way of Greater Charlottesville and the Minority Business Alliance. 

“This sort of infrastructure is what helps a minority business grow,” said Libby Edwards-Allbaugh. “It helps level the playing field.” 

Edwards-Allbaugh is the owner of the Tax Ladies LLC, a small business that won a Minority Business Enterprise grant of $5,000 in April 2020 according to NBC29.   

That’s one of several dozen awards totalling over $150,000 that have been awarded since the start of the program six years ago. This year’s awardees are:

The awards were announced at the Minority Business Alliance’s gala on September 15. 

Second shout-out: eBike Demo Day

Are you interested in a climate-friendly, family-friendly way to replace short car rides? Have you heard about eBikes? Wondering what kind might be right for you? Join Livable Cville on Sunday, October 8 from 2–4pm at Tonsler Park in Charlottesville for a fun afternoon with lots of eBikes owners you can talk to and several types of eBikes you can take for short test rides. Everyone is invited to their eBike Demo Day. Registration is recommended. To learn more, please visit

Buildings and Grounds Committee review designs for biotech institute, energy plant, and garage at Fontaine Research Park 

In 1986, the land that is now the Fontaine Research Center had been slated for commercial development. The Albemarle Board of Supervisors approved a rezoning for a shopping center called Fontaine Forest on a 4-2 vote that January over the objections of both Charlottesville and UVA. 

At the time, UVA officials expressed interest in the property. 

“To assure that there is no misunderstanding, the University notes that this property is of a type that the University may have an interest in acquiring someday and, while the future uses of properties of this type are not known, the probably exists that the University’s uses at some future date could be just as intense as those proposed by the petitioners,” reads a letter from Raymond Haas, the Vice President for Administration at UVA in 1986. (view the minutes, page 16)

The incident led to the ultimate creation and adoption of the Three Party Agreement between Albemarle, Charlottesville, and UVA that sought to set some guidelines for regional land use decisions as well as the creation of the UVA Foundation, which later purchased the land.  In 2023, the area is still a convergence of the interest of all three entities. 

You may need to log in to see this particular bit. Log in and then refresh the link for all of the minutes from this meeting from January 1986. (click here)

Alice Raucher, the University of Virginia Architect, said there has been significant investment at the Fontaine Research Park over the years. The UVA Foundation owned the site until January 2018 when UVA took over the title. 

“Coupled with significant amounts of available land, this really makes Fontaine prime for development,” Raucher said. “We knew there was a great opportunity for transdisciplinary initiatives and so in 2018 we embarked on developing a master plan to envision the future of Fontaine.” 

That master plan is slowly coming into fruition. In March, the Buildings and Grounds Committee of the Board of Visitors reviewed the conceptual plan for three buildings

Earlier this month, the panel approved the schematic designs for one components and reviewed the plans for two others. 

One of those is the $350 million Institute of Biotechnology that will be constructed on what’s currently a surface parking lot on the park’s western edge. There will be a total of 350,000 square feet of space with food service on the ground floor.

“The biotech institute is approximately three times the size of the majority of the other buildings at Fontaine yet the design approach of an L-shaped plan enabled the building to be a floor shorter and better situated in the surrounding context.,” Raucher said. “It’s the first building of the master plan with the newer, taller buildings on the perimeter of the park, ringing the lower buildings in the center.” 

Committee Chair John L. Nau III said the design could use some refining to have it fit better into the landscape. 

“It sits at the highest elevation in the Fontaine Area so it’s going to be a major message,” Nau said. “Candidly I think we still have a little bit of work to do on the roof and try to mask what is sitting up there and maybe bring down the profile a little bit.” 

The schematic design for the Institute of Biotechnology will come back to the Buildings and Grounds Committee at their December meeting. 

A site plan for the near-term future at the Fontaine Research Park (Credit: UVA Office of the Architect)

The future of Fontaine also includes a need for more power to support an ultimate total of 1.5 million gross square feet of floor space. The Central Energy Plant will be located in a back corner of the park.

“Significantly this will be our first zero combustion fossil fuel free energy plant on Grounds,” Raucher said. “We’re proposing the cladding of the exterior to be a dark, warm bronze to allow the building to recede into the background landscape.” 

That schematic design was the one that was approved by the Buildings and Grounds Committee last week.

A slide from Raucher’s presentation to the Buildings and Grounds Committee depicting the Central Energy Plant  (Credit: UVA Office of the Architect)

The master plan also includes a new 1,270 space parking garage to support the full build-out including space for buses to pick up passengers for destinations elsewhere. 

“Now with the imminent Institute of Biotechnology, we need to enable our University Transit to access the park, enabling connections with Central Grounds and the health system,” Raucher said. 

Nau and at least one member of the panel asked for more work on the aesthetics of the structure which will be parallel to Fontaine Avenue and screened with trees. 

“Especially when you realize that for about three or four months, those trees are going to have no leaves on them so the visual impact becomes even greater,” Nau said. 

In addition to the new garage, the committee reviewed a new roadway network through the park including a roundabout. These will be connected to proposed infrastructure just outside Fontaine. 

“Part of our focus has always been to look for ways to increase transit and pedestrian connectivity to the park,” Raucher said. “There is currently a bike-ped path connecting to West Grounds and [Scott] Stadium that’s heavily on game days. The city will be constructing sidewalks and bike lanes along Fontaine Avenue as part of their Smart Scale program and we’ll continue these sidewalks and bike lanes into the park.”

The University of Virginia has contributed $5 million to the Fontaine project which was first awarded to the city in 2016 with a geographic scope that ends at the city limits. 

Preliminary engineering for the project is complete and the right of way phase is underway now. Construction of the $18 million project is slated for FY24 according to the Virginia Department of Transportation’s six-year-improvement program

Another idea for the future is a pedestrian bridge crossing Fontaine Avenue.  Stay tuned to Charlottesville Community Engagement because

Also in the podcast!

The podcast contains two segments from the September 18, 2023 edition. Go click through if you want to see those scripts.

Reading material:

Concluding thoughts for #580

Even I am amazed sometimes at how much work I put out each week, and yes, it’s overwhelming. The podcast version of this edition contains audio that should have gone with the last newsletter, but there was an error in the production process that has led me do things slightly different. 

If you’ve not had a chance yet, go check out the archives at Information Charlottesville. This website rivals any other in the area at being a comprehensive source about what’s happening. And gosh, it’s going to be so much better in the future as Town Crier Productions continues to grow. 

I’m still figuring out the business end so I can hire someone to help, but those conversations are coming up soon. I want to fund an intern so I can find someone who’s interested in learning how this works. Interested? Let me know!

For now, you can support this work with a subscription through Substack. The Internet company Ting will match your first payment. 

Ting sponsors Scott Stadium, the Ting Paviliion, and the John Paul Jones Arena. Maybe you’re in the market for a new high speed internet provider?

If you’re in Charlottesville, check out Ting! If you sign up for Ting at this link and enter the promo code COMMUNITY, you’ll get:

  • Free installation

  • A second month for free

  • A $75 gift card to the Downtown Mall

Charlottesville Community Engagement
Charlottesville Community Engagement
Regular updates of what's happening in local and regional government in and around Charlottesville, Virginia from an award-winning journalist with nearly thirty years of experience.