Congratulations to the city of Harrisonburg, which was recently named by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as one of the top 10 semifinalists for the 2014 Great American Main Street Awards (GAMSA). The semifinalists have demonstrated their ability to preserve their unique history while creating and maintaining vibrant, successful commercial districts that serve as the heart of their communities.
Each year, the National Trust Main Street Center recognizes exceptional Main Street communities whose successes serve as a model for comprehensive commercial district revitalization. These award-winning communities have demonstrated proven success in using the Main Street Four Point Approach® to create economic vitality, a unique sense of place and a strong commitment to the community by all stakeholders.
According to the GAMSA website, downtown Harrisonburg is a dramatically different place today than it was a decade ago, and much of that transformation can be attributed to Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance’s (HDR) impressive work in the community. For the last four years, readers of the local newspaper have named Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance “The Best Use of Taxpayer Money.” The reason is clear. In their 11-year history, HDR has logged more than 85,000 volunteer hours while generating $55 million in private investment, and they have no plans of slowing down. In coming years, watch out for a new hotel and conference center, an urban park and an updated brand for the organization. As local developer Barry Kelly stated, “The heart of our city is beating vibrantly again.”
Four other communities in Virginia have been named Great American Main Streets: Culpeper (2012), Lynchburg (2006), Manassas (2003) and Staunton (2002).
The winners of the 2014 Great American Main Street Awards will be announced at the opening plenary of the 2014 National Main Streets Conference in Detroit on May 18.
Good luck, Harrisonburg. We are rooting for you!