About a dozen people gathered on October 20 to share some facts, statistics and opinions in an effort to provide the City of Staunton with some feedback on changes proposed for 2011 that will add automated kiosks to the controversial lot.
“We’re looking at a pay-by-space system that would allow people to choose the amount of time they want to pay for in the Augusta lot. They could pay coin, currency, or by credit card. The technology exists to even do it through a cell phone,” explains Staunton Deputy City Manager James Halasz. For some examples of what other cities have done with automated kiosks, take a look at what Greensboro and Bellingham have done.
Lots of ideas bounced around the room, particularly for ways to change perceptions and behavior surrounding parking issues in the downtown area. Keeping parking options accessible, affordable and as simple as possible while encouraging and rewarding downtown business owners, employees and residents for leaving key parking for visitors and customers seemed to be a recurring theme.
What do you think? Can downtown stay competitive with the Walmarts and the malls of the world who offer free parking? Given the resources and challenges, what would you propose?
On September 29, about 30 Staunton-area residents gathered at the Darjeeling Café for a night of poetry and prose readings and a sneak preview of the Café’s new location at 103 West Beverley. Hosted by SWAG Writers—that’s the Staunton-Waynesboro-Augusta Group of Writers, the local wing of the Blue Ridge Writers Club—the event featured local author Janet Lembke and visiting poet Todd F. Davis. Also on hand was Carey McCallum from The Sacred Circle to sell the readers’ books.
Lembke has published 18 books, including several essay collections and translations, most dealing with the natural world. Her most recent book, Because the Cat Purrs, is about human relationships with other species—cats (of course), chickens, morning glories, turtles, and many others. Davis is the author of three collections of poetry, most recently The Least of These, published by Michigan State University Press. His work is also focused on the natural world.
Lembke kicked things off by reading an introduction to her cats that appear in her book, and then also read sections about groundhogs and other local wildlife. Davis then read—mostly from his most recent book and an earlier collection, Some Heaven, but he admitted that he changed what he had planned to read because of Lembke’s selections. In response to her groundhog story, Davis read a woodchuck poem. And because of her comments about deer, Davis read one of his deer poems.
Following the readings, both authors engaged with the audience about a range of subjects, from the craft of writing to the ins and outs of publishing.
Known for hosting literary events and book clubs, the Darjeeling Café’s new location—which boasts a stage in the center of its east wall—seemed ideal for this event. SWAG, which was formed earlier this year by a group of local writers, announced plans to continue the reading series and also hold open mic nights for writers in the near future.
What was the first city in the world to host a St. Patrick’s Day parade? What are the names of the three kids in ‘Peter Pan’? How many pairs of wings does a flea have? These were three of the questions at last week’s Tuesday Trivia night at Mockingbird.
Hosted by the affable Andy Price, the event begins at 8:00 (sharp) each Tuesday evening in the restaurant’s main dining room. Teams may consist of up to six players, and the winning team receives a $50 gift certificate for dinner at Mockingbird. Here’s a picture of last week’s winners, the four-person squad called Jamie’s Outsiders, displaying their loot:
They were the only team to correctly answer the all-important final question: what was the only team to win the World Series twice in the 1980s?
Answers to the above trivia: Boston, Wendy/Michael/John, zero (fleas don’t have wings, they jump; trick question!) and the Los Angeles Dodgers (1981 & 1988). Mockingbird is located at 123 West Beverley St. Phone: (540) 213-8777.
Take a city with beautiful abandoned buildings, vacancies and blight, add a pinch of social consciousness, passionate community preservationists and historians, fold in a supportive City Council and Government and blend with a healthy portion of Virginia Main Street. Mix and bake for about 20 years and you’ve cooked up Downtown Staunton, Virginia.
The evolution of our downtown from a once neglected business area back to a more vibrant,sustainable central business district is a story of passionate historic restoration and steady progression through attention-getting activities toward carefully planned economic restructuring programs. Here is a visual walk-through of how Staunton has evolved under the Main Street model of downtown revitalization.
Please join us for an ongoing conversation about our successes and failures! Help us discover new ways to continue to grow the crown jewel of Virginia’s Queen City—our historic downtown– into a thriving, sustainable place to work, live, and share with friends, family and visitors. Add your voice to this process!