MESSAGE FROM THE RAB CHAIR, October 2019
Autumn is here. Halloween approaching…….then why does it still feel like summer ???
This has been a long hot summer with not much sign of the heat disappearing. Guess we just have to think “cool”….
September has ended with our annual “Octoberfest” at Paul's Deli on the 29th. Starting at 4 PM, a nice crowd of friends and neighbors gathered for food, music, and of course, some German libations. Nice way to kick off the fall holiday season.
The Finance Committee has been busy working on the 2020 budget. A Town Hall meeting has been scheduled for November 21st at Legacy Hall to discuss the proposed new budget. An eblast will be sent out to residents reminding you about the importance of your attending.
The new website has 495 people registered. We sent out a postcard to all residents who were not registered. There's lots of great information on the website…good way to keep track of what's happening in New Town.
Update on the recycle trash program. The contract states that you must call JCC to opt out of the recycle part of the contract and ask to have the recycle bin picked up. Also, if your old recycle bin wasn't picked up, please call 757-253-6700 (JCC).
Save the date…..Friday, December 13, 2019 …… the annual Holiday Party at Legacy Hall. The Activities Committee is working on making this your special party to attend during the holiday season.
Lastly, reminders were sent out to residents about repairing all items noted on the home exterior maintenance inspection notices. Violation notices will be sent to residents not in compliance after a period of time. Our community is looking great. We strive to continue looking that way. Thanks to all residents for their continued support.
Much of the landscape preparation for next year’s growth has already been executed:
Mowing height has been lowered
The ground has been aerated
Lawns have been over seeded
No doubt you have seen plugs of sod left from the aeration process and wondered where the lumps of clay came from. Besides promoting grass growth, this may help some lawns drain better.
There is still work to done in 2019:
Pruning will start around October 28
An application of winter weed killer will be done in December, but the exact dates depend on the weather.
KNOW YOUR BUSINESS: KIDZ N ART
Reporter Alexa Doiron of the WYDaily calls it, “A new business . . . to help children’s creativity bloom.” I think too that it’s a magical place for kids of all ages where intellect and imagination develop, create, and party! It’s Kidz N Art, an amazing new art studio for all ages with a focus on pre-school through middle school age children.
You’ll find the studio at 4345 New Town Avenue, Suite 107B right behind Paul’s Deli and Restaurant. It opened this past June, just in time for summer vacation. Shaunda Armstrong, founder and owner of Kidz N Art explains that the goal of the studio “is to develop out of the box thinkers and leaders who thrive on innovation and problem solving.” This is not your ordinary art studio; it’s extraordinary.
When you arrive, look at the beautifully decorated windows that showcase artists’ work. Gaze through the glass door. Go inside. Wonderful colors are everywhere. Colors that pump one’s spirit, tempt one’s thinking processes, and entice one’s creativity. You’ll find a great open studio for all ages to work on artistic creations in all mediums. There is a “creative space” for working in groups on school projects from poetry to story development and more. There is even a mini library for support. The studio provides the Girl Scout curriculum to complete the drawing badge and they offer fundraisers and birthday parties.
Shaunda also highlights the hands-on programs, such as the Young Business Visionaries program, which teaches children business skills and promotes the entrepreneurial spirit and creativity. There are “Sip Juice and Paint” groups that, incorporate painting with reading, math, and other subjects to support the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) curriculum.
A mural of Van Gogh’s Starry Night is the backdrop for the open studios where easels line up at attention to serve eager young artists. Kidz N Art offers Little Painters classes for children 2-7 years. The cost of a class or session includes all materials too.
Check out the Kidz N Art website if you looking for something to do as a family? You can visit an exclusive open studio. The site promises that, “... Creative assistants will also assist in color mixing and answer any questions you may have.” It goes on to say that if “you are looking for something more in depth or a one-on-one lesson, please ask about private art lessons. Children over the age of 13 may be dropped off without a parent in the studio and adults without accompanying children are also welcome anytime.”
You will find a sense of welcome and purpose throughout the studio. Splashes of brilliant color foreshadow the wonderful activities, things to be learned and friendships to make that await everyone at Kidz N Art. This is definitely a valuable addition to New Town!
NEW EVENING CONCERT SERIES
The New Town Commercial Association inaugurated another fun social event this month: Wednesday evening concerts in Pecan Square (at the corner of Discovery and Ironbound Road).
Johnny St. Clair kicked off the series on September 18 with an easy going program that put the emphasis on old school country tunes. The weather was perfect for an evening of music and many New Town residents were in the audience. Johnny performed solo but he provides his own bass accompaniment for his guitar using pedals as an organist would. There is a lot happening in a Johnny St. Clair live performance but he makes it all sound super smooth.
On September 25, Jocelyn Oldham performed. As she sang Van Morrison’s “Moondance”, with its lyric about October skies, it perfectly suited another beautiful outdoor evening in the neighborhood. Her set included covers of such artists as Sheryl Crow, Leonard Cohen and John Prine.
If you missed these two shows, do not fret! There are two more announced concerts in the series for 2019. Bring a lawn chair or blanket and come out for a couple hours of live entertainment under the magic of October skies. New Town entrepreneur and guitarist Scott Wise will appear on October 2 and the dual guitar line up of StonesThrow takes the stage on October 9. Concerts are 5:30 to 7:30PM.
Special thanks to The Local Scoop and Next Door Neighbor Magazine for making these concerts possible.
NEW TOWN CYCLES
New Town residents are busy people with work and families, yet many find time for a hobby. Now that the weather is cooling off, maybe it's time to get out the bicycle that has been sitting in your garage and join some of your neighbors in a hobby that many enjoy.
One avid biker is Bill Haas of Charlotte Park. Bill road bikes recreationally with his family but also seriously with groups organized by Conte's Bike Shop located here in New Town. Conte's publishes ride schedules online, and its employees are always willing to talk with you whether you are a long-time biker or new. The shop also organizes mountain bike rides, some along a trail with access across from Opus/Panera that opens onto a vast system for mountain bike riding. It is at Panera on Saturday mornings that as many as 11 bikers meet at the end of their ride, neighbors who are happy to talk with you about their experiences.
We are fortunate to live in James City County with its many trails for bikers of all levels. Rider Tom Carter, a mountain biker, uses trails at Freedom Park at the end of Centerville Road and York River State Park. Both have wider, flatter trails good for beginners as well as single track (narrow) mountain biking trails. These are more challenging with changes in slope, twisty turns, root obstacles, and narrow gaps between trees. Riding here requires that you have the right bike for the terrain.
Area bikers also have access to Virginia's Capital Trail, a favorite ride of Tom's. It begins next to the parking lot at Jamestown Settlement and ends about 50 miles later at Shockoe Bottom in Richmond although no rider has to go the entire distance. The trail is wide, flat, and off road to avoid cars. Benches along the way offer rest.
No matter whether you tackle the Capital Trail or enjoy our neighborhood streets, the object, as Tom says, is to "have fun."
As you know, much of what goes on in New Town does so because of dedicated volunteers who work on different committees to keep our community running smoothly. With this issue, we begin a look at these different groups that impact our everyday lives.
Do you go to pool parties, talk with neighbors at the December Holiday parties, learn about happenings outside of our area at Noon Talks? Thank the Activities Committee. Do you know what to do in an emergency, how to prepare, where to go in case of evacuation? Thank the Emergency Preparedness Committee. Are you reading this article online? Thank the Communication Committee.
These are only three of the seven committees that operate here. To let you know what each does and how it functions, we begin a series of articles highlighting their work and, in some cases, how you may get involved.
We begin with two committees that currently do not require volunteers - the Architectural Review (ARC) and the Transition Committees. The Board of Directors appoints these members, unlike other committee volunteers.
According to the ARC Charter, the "ARC is empowered to provide for efficient review, approval, or disapproval of all plans submitted by Owners within the Association for additions to or alterations of the exterior appearance of completed structures of a property itself." Vice Chair Libby Flowers explains that such changes are permanent alterations to the exterior of a home such as addition of fencing, storm doors, satellite dishes, solar panels, patios and decks, and change in exterior paint colors.
Once the ARC receives an application, its members visit the site of the proposal to see how that change would affect the neighborhood. Traditionally the ARC members have worked to maintain the appearance of our community, the orderly and maintained sense of place it now has.
Another important committee that impacts our community's future is the Transition Committee, now in process of completing its Charter. In response to our request for information, Rick Fisher provided the following:
The Board of Directors (BOD), at the June 2019 meeting, directed that a Transition Committee be formed to ensure that a due diligence review is performed by an independent group of homeowners prior to the Transition from the Developer. The Transition Committee will have an approved Charter and membership. The Charter will become a self-explanatory document that will be shared with all homeowners and will outline specific tasks that will be accomplished by assigned Committee members.
During this process, there are many categories of work planned that cover our community from its fiscal to its physical health. Some categories included are review of documents, existing policies and procedures, nomination and election processes, insurance coverage and vendor contracts. More details of the scope of this committee will be available as the Charter is approved.
In future issues of Town Crier, look for more information on what is happening around you and how you may want to get involved. (Editor’s Note: After three years as editor, I solicit a volunteer to replace me. Please send me a note to email@example.com)
OUR POOL CLOSES FOR 2019
Our pool is buttoned up until the 2020 opening, but 2019 was a successful season. Attendance was steady from the year before and never became a problem. The biggest crowds during the year were in fact during the NTRA sponsored pool party events for which attendance was estimated at 150. This was the second year that we kept the pool opened for use during extra weekends in September. The weather was good each weekend, unlike 2018, so we got a better idea of use.
The year end maintenance went smoothly with no major investments or maintenance actions known to be required to open in 2020. Town Management will investigate costs for painting the “mushroom” fountain and for design modifications to the gazebo to prevent water capture and wood rot.
The furniture we bought to begin 2019 was integrated with existing furniture and will continue to be cycled through as indicated by wear. To date, the new furniture is wearing well and the extra umbrellas provided welcomed shade throughout the season.
It was a quiet year regarding pool policies and rules. No new rules were identified for consideration. In fact, the only issue identified by residents to Town Management during the season was about the temperature of water coming from the newly installed drinking water fountain. Speaking of that, we saved about 450 plastic water bottles via the new feature for filling reusable containers.
New plants were added around the pool border in 2019. It turned out that the hydrangeas we used could not tolerate the heat well. The landscaper will replace them with a hardier variety.
We were very lucky with our lifeguards this year. They were a steady presence fthrough the whole season.
So, that marks the close of the pool for 2019. It’s a great year when the most pressing issue is that the drinking fountain dispenses too cold water!
Iron-Bound Gym will offer flu shots on Tuesday, November 5th from noon to 3 PM.
Anyone is welcome. Simply bring your insurance card and you will be all set.
DID YOU KNOW - Early November/late October is the ideal time for flu shots. The big box stores are pushing shots earlier and earlier in the season (just like holiday displays), but that can make them less effective. It takes 2 weeks for the shot to be effective and the highest incidence for the flu is from December to May.
FLU SHOTS IRON-BOUND GYM NOV 5, NOON TILL 3PM
The “Coming Soon” sign is coming down at 4919 Courthouse Street. AXE REPUBLIC has arrived. Opening festivities will take place October 25–27, according to business-owner Nikki Montero, who has leased the property. Have you experienced axe throwing? This centuries-old sport, with ties to knights, Vikings and lumberjacks, is known to evoke primal competitive feelings in participants.
“And, it’s really fun,” adds Nikki. “Axe throwing can be enjoyed by both men and women and a wide range of age groups. You don’t need any special skills to throw one.”
That’s something she discovered herself when she was introduced to axe throwing by a friend for her birthday. At the time she was exploring options for a new venture, and immediately delved into some intense research about the flourishing axe throwing rage. Before long she was convinced that this rapidly growing sport would be a great fit for New Town.
More and more sports, from rock climbing to sky diving to pickleball, have created indoor versions that can be experienced year round in climate controlled indoor space. Participation is not weather dependent. Devotees are able to maintain training year round and entrepreneurs can count on steady return from their business investment. Add axe throwing to the list of newly “indoor” activities.
The New Town location is ideal, Nikki noted, citing the convenient parking, proximity to shopping areas, Colonial Williamsburg, the college and other places where she might draw interest. “Most local residents of all ages maintain active lifestyles. The movie theater, restaurants, pubs and fitness centers, all contribute to a lively nighttime vibe. Sidewalk traffic is abundant in this walkable community and that increases our visibility and our chances of walk-in business,” she said.
Nikki Montero, the sole owner of AXE REPUBLIC, is confident about her own abilities and brings a unique set of skills to running the business. She has traveled widely as a former military wife, worked in the stock market arena, been a stay-at-home/active-in-the-community Mom, and most recently worked as a school nurse with Williamsburg/James City County Schools at D.J.Montague Elementary.
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Nikki Montero, owner of Axe Republic, in front of a target.
Opening celebration will take place October 27 - 29
Her enthusiastic support team includes husband Eddie, who owns and operates two The UPS Stores; their college-age children, CJ and Hannah, who are enrolled at UVA and JMU; parents Ron and Francine; and, other family, friends and community associates. Friends and family members assisted with the demolition process, removal of debris, painting and construction of lanes; while contractors created a kitchen suitable for handling the food and beverage needs.
Though axe throwing is quite safe, safety is taken seriously. Precautions and lane rules are reviewed before guests enter the throwing area and lanes are monitored. Come prepared – all players must wear closed toe shoes (no high heels or sandals allowed). No intoxicated person may throw. And, should you own an axe, leave it at home. Except in League competition players must use house axes.
Each of 12 throwing lanes accommodates 2-6 players at a time. A single walk-in customer might pair up with another single player who is hoping for a match. Larger groups can reserve multiple lanes. Booking lanes online is recommended (www.axerepublic.com). The minimum age for axe throwing is 14 years. Groups that contain 14- to 17-year olds must include at least one playing adult. The cost to throw is $27 per person for 75 minutes of lane time.
Novices will be able to learn how to throw an axe on site and then consult with those experienced Axe Coaches - called “Axeperts”- as they play.
Montero shares today’s consumer preference for “EATertainment” venues, those that combine activities with food and beverages in one place (29%, according to a survey conducted by research firm YouGov). AXE REPUBLIC is designed to be an all-in one place entertainment/recreation establishment.
The interior ambiance at AXE REPUBLIC is a mix of rustic features and modern industrial surfaces created with both wood and hi-tech materials. Wire fencing, metal mesh and poles, and wood panels define the boundaries of the throwing lanes. At the head of each lane there is a raw wood backdrop displaying a large round target outlined in black with a bold red bulls-eye at the center.
Nikki says, “The comfortable lounge area has a different vibe. It is separate from the throwing lanes, but has a view of them. Watching the competition is part of the excitement.”
The lounge is furnished with high top tables and stools Here patrons can enjoy gourmet hot dogs, cookies from Celli’s Chocolate Chips and other exceptional snacks and varied beverages including craft brews from Virginia Beer Company. “Some patrons will visit us to demonstrate their existing skills; others, to learn the art of hurling an axe at a large wooden bulls-eye target,” she said. “Games can be friendly rivalries, or fierce competitions. It’s up to the players. There may be customers that come in just for the food and beverages,” Nikki anticipates.
When it comes to attracting customers, Nikki Montero sees many possible directions. “We expect AXE REPUBLIC to be an exciting date night destination. The novelty aspect of axe throwing will draw in some curious folks and also position us as an interesting venue for birthday, bachelorette, office parties and other events. I envision business colleagues coming in after work. College students should find this a great place to have fun – my own kids included. Groups of friends or couples could meet here before a movie or stay all evening. This will be a lively place where tourists and families can get something to eat and drink and either watch others play or join the games themselves. It works on so many levels,” she said.
Defined by distinct shapes and forged from varied materials, axes have been used for centuries in many capacities – as tools, weapons and even as amulets to protect crops from bad weather. It’s not hard to imagine how throwing these implements became a competitive pastime for those who handled axes regularly and had time on their hands. Yet today, axe throwing is a rapidly growing craze that captivates all sorts of participants, many that have never handled a tool of any sort.
“Everyone wants to experience something that’s new and different,” suggested Nikki.
League competition has encouraged interest in and promoted skill building for bowling, archery and many other individual and recreational sports. Now leagues are being developed for axe throwing. AXE REPUBLIC Williamsburg has affiliated with the World Axe Throwing League (WATL). This means that local players can join competitive league matches on Tuesday nights beginning with the 8-week Winter Season that starts January 14, 2020. Local winners will qualify to compete in regional and national contests.
In a press release announcing the lease of 4919 Courthouse Street, Kelly Voss of Developers Realty, the company that manages New Town’s commercial properties, expressed her pleasure with the new business, saying, “We’ve been searching for the right user to activate this corner location for some time and believe we’ve hit the bull’s-eye with AXE REPUBLIC!”
Drew Haynie, of Cushman and Wakefield | Thalhimer said, “Nikki is a true entrepreneur and an energetic early adapter bringing a fantastic and nationally trending new concept to New Town.”
He also offered an upbeat projection about the potential impact of this new business, stating, “Watch for more entertainment/EATertainment and family friendly concepts coming to Main Street in 2019. New Town Main ownership has really made a big commitment to keep the center relevant and dynamic by attracting fresh offerings and hot concepts that offer something for everyone.”
One final note: Nikki Montero is not only an entrepreneurial business owner in New Town, she is also a resident. She and her husband reside in the Village Walk neighborhood. She says it’s an added bonus that she can now walk to work, so keep an eye out for her on the sidewalks and give her a welcoming shout!
AXE REPUBLIC HOURS
Tuesday: Leagues/ Special Events
Wednesday–Thursday: 5 – 9 PM
Friday: 5 – 10 PM
Saturday: 11 AM – 10 PM
Sunday: 12 NOON – 6 PM