A strong downtown is critical for the health of a city and Harrisonburg is proof. Our downtown is thriving and surviving even in this difficult season. We have had some painful losses and I expect there will be a few more, but our core is strong and we are on the verge of tremendous growth. Downtown Harrisonburg is the heart of our region and the place that many of us love to live, work, and play. The strength of our town comes from confident and brave entrepreneurs, passionate supporters, and strong allies like HDR that support both. There are many things to love about our downtown, but we can always improve, and having a comprehensive master plan is the first step forward.
There is no doubt that our historic buildings that tell the story of our past and create the fabric for our future are a core reason for our downtown’s strength. It takes a bold vision for a building owner to invest in the greater good of a region by saving a historic building.
The amazing food culture that has been created in Harrisonburg draws people in from around the region. In fact, Harrisonburg is the first Culinary District in Virginia featuring a range of ethnic, fine dining, casual, and locally owned options. Along with festivals centered around food, a grocery store, and a bed and breakfast this downtown knows how to celebrate the region’s agricultural heritage.
We have ducks! How cool is it that you sometimes have traffic jams because of passing baby ducks or your office has a visitor?
Our crosswalks are creative and hopefully just a start to a more pedestrian-centric downtown. The sidewalks are being upgraded and infrastructure updated as our downtown continues to improve. Wouldn’t it be cool if our crosswalks were works of art?
There are a series of small park spaces in downtown to give places to rest and relax, have a conversation, or just enjoy nature. While I wish there were more trees and vegetation, we have some and the possiblity to have more. How cool would it be to have a downtown park? Maybe…
Our paths are becoming works of art.
The pandemic has helped create more outdoor dining spaces, a trend I hope continues to grow and expand.
Most important for our downtown is that we continue to have supporters rally to help it grow and prosper. One easy way to do that is to engage in the creation of a downtown masterplan that is currently in the works.
There is also a cool interactive map where you can add thoughts and engage about how to improve downtown and what you love about downtown.
There are also Downtown 2040 coasters at local restaurants where you can write your dream for downtown and then #dreamdowntownHVA on Instagram.
So please join me in expressing your opinions about all the great things in place downtown and help suggest ways it can be better. This masterplan will be a guiding document moving forward. We need your help to make downtown the best place possible.