Give the Fraziers credit
I read with interest your [February 26] cover story "Is Staunton the Next Charlottesville?" It's always good to see a small historic city and its key players receive media attention. However, I could not help but notice the omission of two key players in the revitalization of Staunton's downtown.
They are Bill and Kathy Frazier, founders and owners of Frazier & Associates. Bill is a planner and lecturer in Historic Preservation at UVA, and Kathy is an architect and consultant for the Virginia Main Street Program.
Their involvement in Staunton's revitalization efforts dates back to the 1970s when they joined with other citizens, including the former city manager, to make downtown revitalization a high priority. While most Virginia cities of similar size were focusing on suburban growth at the expense of their downtowns, Staunton got a head start on revitalization and is now reaping the benefits. The Fraziers' work, individually and collectively, has earned them countless awards at the local, state, and national levels.
They both fight tirelessly to save and restore historic structures, and ensure that infill projects are designed appropriately for the downtown setting. The garage you mention in your article, "the regal brick structure with arched white-lattice windows and cobblestone entries [that] looks more like a palace than a parking garage," was one of Frazier & Associates' designs.
Architects and planners rarely get credit for their roles in urban revitalization, but they are often the pioneers preceding the involvement of politicians and business owners. It's important that your readers know who the Staunton pioneers are, because without pioneers who share their visions, take the risks, and fight the fights, nothing happens.