Stanardsville Area Revitalization (STAR) received a $10,000 grant in December that will benefit Greene Commons.
The grant was awarded by the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation’s Bama Works Fund, which was started by Dave Matthews.
Greene Commons, a partnership between Greene County Economic Development and Tourism office and the Town of Stanardsville, contains the large farmers market pavilion and a performance stage and is located by the county administration building. It was dedicated in October.
“I believe this grant will help us provide excellent programming for this community gathering space,” said Alan Yost, Greene Commons Inc. president and manager of the Greene County Economic Development and Tourism office. “We really need the community to come out and support it.”
The project got off the ground with a $1 million Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development grant, awarded in 2016, to help revitalize the town.
Some of the Bama Works grant will go toward the salary of a new manager for Greene Commons, Judy Berger.
Berger, owner of Cville Siren, grew up in the area and has experience in local food, farmers markets, and entertainment, marketing and health activities.
“We hope to expand outside the pavilion this season,” Berger said of the farmers market, which will kick off the first Saturday in April. The 2020 farmers market will run until the last Saturday of October.
The market saw about 300 customers each week, she said.
“I’m hoping each week will have a theme and I would love for community businesses to be involved in events that we have there—whether they volunteer time or otherwise,” she said. “I just want it to be community based and in line with what the community wants and supported with the community’s help because it really is about Greene County. As far as the stage goes, we have so many ideas of things we want to do, including music performances and maybe some plays and maybe a gospel festival with all the churches. We’re open to wine and beer festivals. You know the sky’s the limit.”
Berger said anyone interested in a space for the 2020 farmers market needs to get their site reserved as soon as possible. Almost all of the spaces under the 70-foot by 30-foot pavilion have been rented out, but there is plenty of room outside of the pavilion for additional vendors, she said.
People can rent Greene Commons for wedding receptions and family reunions, as well.
Berger said she’s looking for employees to help with the project but also for volunteers and people willing to donate financially.
“We will be coming out into the community this month, me and a couple of my team members to pass out brochures, to talk to people about it, to say here are opportunities … to help spread the word.”
Berger said she thinks the site has a lot of potential.
“I think it really lends itself to bringing in people even from outside of Greene County when the programming is up and going and people start learning about it,” she said. “I’m so impressed with the powers that be that got it rolling.”
“This is a community gathering place for residents,” Yost said. “To me it’s really exciting when we can come together as a community to support each other.”