Monday, July 30, 2007

New Urbanism to strike Portsmouth's Truxtun

Originally uploaded by matteich.
The people that brought us the $1.2 million roundabout just outside the nTellos Harbor Pavilion have a proposal for Truxtun, one of the nation's first planned communities.

The New Urbanist gurus of Pittsburgh-based Urban Design Associates, led by Ray Gindroz have been working their magic for the neighborhood just off Frederick Boulevard on the south side of I-264.

Read Jim Washington's article from the Virginian Pilot.

As always, Mr. Gindroz and his team seem to have worked some magic:
For inspiration, the company went back to the original plans for Truxtun drawn up in 1918.

Those designs called for a traditional village arrangement, with houses around a town square.

Residents and designers hope to reclaim that small community feel with some modern updates.

In the past, homeowners have faced issues with historic district restrictions when trying to make improvements to their properties. UDA and community leaders are championing "new" Truxtun houses that fit with the historic design but meet the needs of families today.

"I think the things that don't cost much and can make the city money are realistic," Ronald Lucas said. "Others aren't so realistic. It depends on how strong the voice of our community becomes."

About 40 people attended UDA's final presentation Thursday night. There was a sense of excitement and optimism in the church, tempered with a dose of reality.

"This is the easy part," said city Planning Commission Chairwoman Paige Cherry. "Now we have to pay for it."
Oh, come on Ms. Cherry. You can find more than a million dollars for a darn roundabout... I think you can find some money to save a neighborhood.

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