Recap: Virginia Main Street communities host informal (and informational) sessions

Two recent regional Virginia Main Street gatherings in the Southwest Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley offered an opportunity share resources and discuss current issues in an informal setting.

In Marion, Main Street Manager Ken Heath hosted a group of nine at the Marion Town Hall for an update on the stimulus package and new efforts in the Town of Marion, including the green re-use of the Pepsi bottling plant by First Fruits bottling company. The group took  a downtown walking tour, visited the Sprit of Appalachia Gallery, and had a dutch-treat lunch at Handsome Molly’s Bistro and Wine Shop

Participating communities included Wise, Abingdon, and Richlands. The next Southwest regional gathering will be hosted by Advance Abingdon.

Eddie Bumbaugh of Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance hosted the Shenandoah Valley meeting attended by five communities, Front Royal, Staunton, Woodstock, Waynesboro, Timberville.  The lunch meeting was held at the Blue Nile, a popular downtown Ethiopian restaurant housed in a recent historic rehabilitation tax credit project. The exotic tastes stimulated conversation about the International Chili Society, downtown living at Harrisonburg’s Urban Exchange, Staunton’s work on an Arts and Cultural District and developing downtown advocacy.

The next Shenandoah regional meeting will be hosted again by Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance in October.