In 2010, the Staunton Downtown Development Association (SDDA) received one of two community projects that took advantage of Virginia Main Street’s recent Downtown Improvement Grants to fund identity banners. (We took a look at the Culpeper’s banner project in the January 13 blog post.)
Before the grant, Staunton had a priority-based budget and the funds to only place the banners in part of their district. SDDA Board leaders saw the grant as an opportunity to expedite the second phase of the project, completing banners for the Churchville Avenue Corridor. In their press release and the subsequent press earned by the project, the organization was very clear about the motives and desired outcomes of the project. Articles ran in the Augusta Free Press and WHSV Channel 3.
Julie Markowitz, executive director of the SDDA, said that, “Installing new, colorful banners in those areas will show SDDA support for businesses and property owners in that part of the district.” This very visible investment can go a long way in demonstrating commitment to part of the footprint that doesn’t alway get as much attention. Additionally, the banners will visually connect the central district to the public spaces and arts and cultural amenities of Gypsy Hill.
Staunton was one of seven communities to receive a 2010 Downtown Improvement Grant.