Why I call Fluvanna home

In those early years, it was initially disconcerting and then heartwarming to have strangers wave at you as you passed on the road. At first, I was sure they thought we were someone that they knew. I gradually came to realize that people were just neighborly. It was nice.
Those of you that know me know that I was all in. I joined the PTO and the Parent Advisory Committee. I went to the School Board meetings, and rallied around school issues. I praised what I liked and made clear things I thought could be improved. Eventually I served on the School Board.
In those 20 plus years, Fluvanna has changed, as has the world. Some changes have been great and others not so much.
GREAT: Getting Pleasant Grove. And let me tell you I did not always think that was so. When the Board of Supervisors purchased this property, this young mother was not happy. We had needs, our schools were in disrepair, we had trailers everywhere, technology was becoming a necessity and we could barely get a computer per classroom. But now, I see the board had vision. That property purchase took foresight and planning. Imagine if they had to buy that property just 10 years later how much more it would have cost. Where would our library, sheriff’s office, and high school be located? And the gem of the open areas, fields for playing, areas for community events, hiking trails…would they even exist without some foresight?
NOT GREAT: Elections have become negative. Elections were neighborly, issue oriented. Candidates did not attempt to smear other candidates, they were neighbors. We live in a small community and I believe that each candidate has a vision and they should get their message to the community. The community decides the direction with their vote. The tone of the campaign sets the tone for the term. It would be great to see the focus return to the vision, not the opponent.
GREAT: Expanding our tax base. Getting Tenaska and some retail in the area has helped to keep some of the burden off the homeowners. Tenaska and many or our local businesses have been good and generous neighbors. They are part of our community and as such have volunteered their time and abilities to help keep Fluvanna a wonderful place to live.
NOT GREAT: Failure to have an overall economic development plan. We have provided a salary and time has been invested and we have a Goodwill store coming. I do not believe that is the type of development we need. We already have MACAA, Christian Outreach, and discount stores; we need to up our game. We need a solid plan to move forward and then we need to follow it through, not change course midstream.
GREAT: A new state of the art high school. The possibilities abound, and our community will be well served by this facility once we stop complaining about it and begin to think in terms of how we can best utilize these facilities. (Remember my earlier remarks about Pleasant Grove.)
NOT GREAT: Ongoing resentment about past decisions. We have elections and we will change direction, but we need to be a community with a plan. None of us is going to like every decision, but we all live with them, this is a community.
GREAT: A lovely rural community. We are blessed with places where you can see the stars at night, look across fields of untouched snow, watch deer frolic in the woods, and cows graze in the pasture.
GREAT: The people. Do I need to say more here? We have so many kind and generous neighbors. They rally around tragedy and success. People are generous. We raise money, we donate food and clothing. We have wonderful people in this community. We donate time and energy to help the poor and the sick and the community overall.
I think it is good to remember why you call a place home. It is by choice that I call Fluvanna home. I am glad that we moved here. My children had a wonderful place to grow up, received a decent education and were ready to go out and explore the world. I live in a beautiful community with such heart and passion. Sometimes I need a reminder, but mostly I just need to look around to know why I call Fluvanna home.
(Barbara Gibbons served on the Fluvanna County School Board from 2008 to 2011. She was the chairwoman from 2010 to 2011.)

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