In the Zoom meeting on May 12, we learned a great deal about the ideas that the architectural team has come up with in response to the “charrettes.” They are wide-ranging thoughts, many of which will take years to play out (if they ever do). Some ideas seemed to be readily accepted by residents, while others generated strong pushback.
In this blog post, I can’t cover all the details of the meeting, which lasted an hour and a half. For that, you need to watch the video. You may also want to review the slides that were presented. Here, I will just touch on the most important themes, at least from my perspective.
If you spot any inaccuracies in my account, please let me know and I will correct them. If you want to add comments or a differing perspective, please do so in the comment box at the bottom of this post. I also want to make clear that the diagrams shown here are ones I created, based on the materials in the presentation. They may not represent exactly what the architects had in mind.
Revitalization goals. Seth started off the meeting by reading a list of “Campus Goals”. I think they provide an excellent context for the long-range planning process, so I’ll repeat them here. They are as follows:
The Kendal at Longwood Revitalization Plan will:
- Encourage community, connectedness, and social interaction
- Be sustainably designed with the goal of carbon neutrality
- Be designed with flexibility and simplicity
- Have new technology integrated into the plan
- Be well constructed with a holistic approach to sustainability
- Will support walkability and an active lifestyle, minimizing use of cars
- Encourage diversity (all types, including economic, racial, ability)
- Respect the natural setting and continue the environmental stewardship
- Provide settings for the residents to be inspired and engaged
I think that’s a pretty good list, and not just for “revitalization”. It could apply to most decision-making we do here.
What was NOT discussed. Before digging into the main topics of the presentation, I would like to mention several topics that were not talked about. Seth made it clear at the beginning that future numbers of units would not be discussed. “It will be consistent with past unit counts,” he said. The number of residents will not exceed the capacity of the health center.
Apart from some questions at the end, there was no discussion of future uses for the Barn or the Farmhouse. (This was perhaps the most surprising omission.) The possibility of development in Lot 1 (the large parking lot, mostly used by staff, at the end of the health center) was omitted, because some of that space will probably be taken by health-center expansion.
The possibility of use of the Worth Center parking lot was not considered because “we [Kendal-Crosslands] don’t own it”—I assume it is the property of Kendal Corporation. The use of space near the tennis courts was not discussed either, although it had been brought up in several of the charrette groups.
There was no discussion of the issues surrounding renovation of existing cottages, and no discussion at all of cost-related issues (although they will surely be important later in the process).
There were plenty of other issues to talk about, however.
In what follows, I have made use of the presentation itself, the comments by residents that followed it, and the comments that people typed in the Zoom chat. It is worth noting that the chat was used fairly frequently throughout the event—more so than in any previous Kendal Zoom that I have experienced. There were more than two dozen chat comments. I captured the content of the chat, and you can read it in its entirety by downloading it here.
It should be emphasized that nothing that the architects put forward had been decided. The stated purpose of the event was to elicit feedback on these ideas. The options were presented as ideas that could either be pursued or dropped from consideration.
The Activities Center and proposed “greenway”. Probably the most contentious part of the presentation (and certainly the part that generated the most comments, both in the Q&A following the presentation and in the chat) was the potential conversion of the “506 House” into an Activities Center.
It could function as one end of a “greenway” stretching across campus from the Barn and Farmhouse to the Activities Center.
The basic Activities Center concept was the use of the house (which sits on a small hill overlooking the semi-circular drive of the new duplexes) as a multi-use facility. It could have a swimming pool, meeting rooms, a patio usable for yoga, maybe a pavilion, perhaps a new dog park. In the flat area below it, there could be tennis and pickleball courts and maybe a bocce court.
No one raised objections to the concept of an Activities Center, but some residents objected to the location. The fact that it was on a hill limited its accessibility by those with mobility limitations. The distance from the center of campus meant that some residents would have to drive to get there.
Other components of the greenway concept included improved gathering locations at the Blueberry Meadow. There could be an “event lawn” and perhaps gardens. Removal of the row of cottages nearest the health center might be considered. That would provide “a more generous connection” between the Barn and Farmhouse on the west and the Blueberry Meadow and Activities Center on the east.
Car-related issues. The second-most contentious topic was probably cars. Allowing traffic through the access road that runs along the meadow was proposed as an obvious way to “complete the loop” of Kendal Drive and make it easier for those at the northwest end of campus to drive to the fitness center, to Lot 1, etc. Navigation would be easier for deliveries and perhaps for visitors.
There were a number of strong objections to this idea, both in the Q&A and in the chat. It was described as potentially ruining the character of the meadow area and of routing traffic through “the heart of our campus”. No residents spoke in support of it.
The concept of a “trailhead” parking lot at the Sunrise Trail was also criticized as being contrary to the intent of the trail system (to encourage walking, not driving).
A related topic, raised by residents, was the possibility of smaller vehicles (“jitneys”), perhaps electric, that could be used in place of the campus busses in many situations, eliminating the need for some driving.
Possible locations for an apartment building. Four possible areas for an apartment building were discussed. One of them was at the present location of the Dog Park. This would have the advantage of a nice view out over the Harlan Glen area. But it would probably not be practical to have an indoor connection to the Center (unless, as one resident suggested, via an underground tunnel), and it would require cutting down a favorite tree that currently grows in the center of the Dog Park. The other options seemed more acceptable.
The alternative areas for apartment buildings were near the “library” end of the Center. There, an indoor connection would be possible. The diagram below shows the approximate configurations.
Two of the configurations discussed would involve two connected apartment buildings; the third (shown in blue in the diagram above) would be a single building. The two configurations nearest the road could be built with space for parking underneath.
These buildings were described as “lodges” rather than standard apartment buildings. This word is meant to convey the style of construction. There would be 5-6 apartments per floor, plus common spaces. Four of the apartments would be corner units with windows on two sides; the others would extend out from the sides of the building so that they too would have more than one wall with windows. The buildings would be either one or two stories.
The front entrance. Two new options for the front entrance drive were shown, both with the objective of bringing the passenger drop-off point much closer to the Center’s main door. In both, the existing “port cochere” structure would be eliminated.
In one option, a drop-off loop would be added to the top of the existing circle. In the other, the existing circle would be extended into an elongated oval shape that would go close to the door. There would be parking along either side. In both cases, the loop would come close to the Farmhouse on one side and the healthcare offices on the other.
There would not be room for this change if the outdoor pool remains where it is. Several alternative locations were mentioned during the presentation, including next to the fitness center and at the proposed Activity Center.
Facilities and Transportation. The new location for bus parking and the Transportation office was shown at the existing Facilities building at the Lake District. Bus parking is currently at the Mott Center at Crosslands, but that lot will be lost when new duplexes are constructed there. There are plans for upgrading the waste treatment facilities within a few years, and the upper pond will be eliminated. That will free up space so that the maintenance road to Crosslands will not need to run through the parking lot as it currently does, and the lot can be expanded for buses. Where the buses will go during the intervening years was not discussed. No alternative locations for bus parking were discussed in either this presentation or the corresponding one at Crosslands.
And much more… Many other topics and options were mentioned. For example, what will happen to Lot 3A, the underused parking lot near Baltimore Pike? Do we need a basketball court? (There were several enthusiastic mentions in the chat.) How can maintenance access to cottages in the “West Village” (the 100s and low 200s) be improved? What new garden locations might be chosen? Will they need tall deer fencing? I encourage you to listen to view the video, look through the slides, and read the chat transcript (the links are near the beginning of this post) to learn more or to refresh your memory.
Your feedback. Seth encouraged people to send him any remaining questions. He will develop an FAQ document, shared on the website, to answer them. You can also talk to the residents on the Revitalization Committee (Margaret Bartow, Ann Congelton, Larry Kirwin, and Carlie Numi). The Revitalization Committee will be meeting again soon and the members can share your ideas with the rest of the Committee.