Virginia Tech® home

Critz Community Center Visioning

Critz community members participate in a visioning meeting to inform the design concept for a community center focused on arts-based programming and other recreational opportunities. Photo credit: Andy Morikawa


Authors as Published

Title of Project: Critz Community Center Visioning 

Principle Investigator (PI): Julie Walters-Steele, Director, Reynolds Homestead; Sarah Wray, Community Engagement, Partnerships, and Programs Manager, Reynolds Homestead

Co-Investigators: Elizabeth Gilboy, Director, Community Design Assistance Center (CDAC); Hayley Harrington, Landscape Designer, CDAC; Lara Nagle, Community-Based Research Manager, IPG; Max Stephenson, Director, IPG and Professor in the School of Public and International Affairs; Andy Morikawa, Senior Fellow, IPG

Key Community Partners: Envision Critz, Inc.

Key University Partners: Reynolds Homestead; Community Design Assistance Center (CDAC); Institute for Policy and Governance (IPG)

Description of Project: Phase 1 of the project provides a vision for the development of a community center in Critz, Virginia, on a property adjacent to Hardin Reynolds Memorial School. In earlier days, Critz was a bustling community with a stop on the Danville and Western Railway, but when the train stopped running, the businesses dried up and today, Critz might be classified as a forgotten community.  

This phase provides a renovation design for a historic home located on the property as well as a land-use plan for the 13-acre plot, based on a series of community visioning meetings held in 2021-2022, as well as the results from an online survey. Community members provided feedback on the initial design concepts generated from the brainstorming process, resulting in a final design. 

Phase 2 of the project will entail securing additional private, state and federal funds to renovate the home, implement the land use plan and provide programs to foster transformative community change to meet the Virginia (5.1) strategy of civic engagement and participation in an effort to advance communities.

Phase 1 Project Goals: 

  1. Engage a representative sample of community members in the visioning for a community center in Critz, VA that will provide arts-based programming and recreational opportunities to a variety of ages, in coordination with the local school and Reynolds Homestead.
  2. Develop a final design concept for the renovation of the historic home and landscape to encompass the ideas and needs identified by community members.

Project Materials 

Project Summary 

Full Report

Publication Date

September 30, 2022

Locality:  Critz, VA

Project Period: August 2021 - September 2022

Total Funding: $46,902

Funding Source: Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC)