Did you know that Paris was laid out 60 to 70 years after Washington D.C. Early urban planners knew that it was important that living spaces should be vibrant places where citizens could enjoy every bit of the environment.
Andrés Duany, architect, urban designer, planner and author, has dedicated over three decades to pioneering a vision for sustainable urban development and its implementation. He has influenced planners and designers worldwide, redirected government policies in the U.S. and abroad, and produced plans for hundreds of new and renewed communities of enduring value.
His protégés or those who study his work call him FUTURE MAN. Why? Because he knows how environments should exist for the people and how people would exist in that environment.
The Chester Village Green was designed as just such a place. Live, work and play within walking distance. Walk to school, walk to shops, walk to restaurants. Chester bought into that premise big time. Many people look to the Village Green as downtown Chester. It was meant to be like no other: retail and residential existing side by side in harmony with the environment – a model for Chesterfield. Businesses for shopping or building a lifestyle, a residential area for those who want to live in a vibrant community and a combination of retail, office and residential that would bring people to this energetic local.
This environment has had its fits and starts but for the most part it has lived the vision of its founders. Then along came money. Who cares about living in vibrant community, there is money to be made. Hell with the vibrant community, let’s build more apartments. Who cares about walking, window shopping or visiting with your neighbors on the street?
Why has it changed from its original plan?
Chesterfield County bought into the money angle, the plan was kicked to the curb, but while some are so excited and support a bicycle and trail system, what is it going to connect, apartment complexes?
ChesterFest has taken place on the Village Green for the last 14 years bringing the community together to visit, enjoy a meal and listen to music. What will happen now? Now the Green will be surrounded with apartments. Might as well put a swimming pool in the middle of it and throw a pool party.
It makes me sick to my stomach. I like the guy who is building the new apartments supported by a pent up market for high rent apartments. But why change his plan from before?
Residents in the back of the development only want the vacant building site occupied like it was about to be before. Village News was only weeks away from moving in there, an English Pub was to occupy the opposite side and a general store was considering taking a space as well.
Village Green residents only want to fill a hole not create a livable environment. In fact they have even poopooed on the arts center. “Where are they going to park?” they say.
I don’t live there, but living there was not the initial idea. Residential in the rear and retail and residential out front. It has changed so. Businesses were not even asked for their input on the new apartments. The building just happened. A loophole existed and was taken advantage of. There was a hole to fill and will be soon.
Did anyone consult the three on the architectural board? No, it just happened. No looking back now. Will the Chester Community Association continue Third Thursday’s music played to apartments, will they continue ChesterFest after 15 years. Will they hang Christmas wreaths up and down West Hundred Rd. That is community, not a pretty building with transient tenants.