What do you see as the biggest challenge the City of Harrisonburg is facing over the next 5 years?

What do you see as the biggest challenge the City of Harrisonburg is facing over the next 5 years? Please add your comments below!

market streetChesapeake Western Depot

Answers so far include:

  1. Smart growth
  2. Making decisions
  3. While growth and housing are huge issues I’m going to go a little more big picture. What does Harrisonburg want to be when it grows up?
  4. I think we need to deal with traffic issues. Push bike lanes, public transportation and becoming more pedestrian-friendly
    1. We have taken 10 years to take baby steps. Of course, in the ten years (approximately) before that, there were no steps at all. (To clarify, I am speaking mostly of bike lanes and creating a more friendly biking/running community.)
    2. The thing that concerns me is JMU building the parking garages, considering the number of students that live off campus, I think they ought instead to open more bus routes. The scooters are a disaster.
  5. The temptation to force an identity that isn’t its own. There’s a historic, unique identity that exists, and we need to materialize that existing identity into the inevitable development (physical and social) that will come with growth. It’s probably easier here in the City to not fall victim to that, but is more difficult at the County level where land development is more open-ended and where the majority of new development will occur.
    1. Not necessarily mistakes that have already been made here (well there is…entirety of east of 81 lol)…just a temptation to fight against as we grow. Examples would be Manasses, Fredericksburg, Cville. There’s a certain lack of character once you get out of the City as it becomes more sprawl based living and strip mall shopping (not saying it’s a bad thing, but can we tie community identity into it?). This is pretty grey, obviously, and is more dependent on individual developers/developments. Revising/Adopting new Code and DCSM would certainly help define that intent more.
  6. We need to get rid of free parking. Make Main St ,around Court Square, a pedestrian mall, have free electric trolleys around town like Staunton. Reorganize HEC, to open it up to renewable energy.
  7. I’d be interested to see what mixed commercial/residential zoning changes would do to reinforce the different neighborhood characters and boost walk-ability.
  8. Making sure Harrisonburg and Rockingham County are resilient in every way which means exploring deeply where our weaknesses are, esp. Infrastructure.
  9. The City needs to invest in the necessary infrastructure that will lead to smart, sustainable growth. 5 year short term “band aids” are no longer the solution. Generally stronger sense of fiscal responsibility is necessary to make that happen though.
  10. They are not small business friendly. Taxes are too high and are just difficult to deal with. Businesses are moving out. Too much BS.

Chesapeake Western Depot

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