Virginia Main Street Merit Awards recognize the hard work, dedication and success of Virginia’s Main Street communities and their achievements across the four points of the Main Street Approach®. This is the fifth in a blog series to highlight each of the seven 2018 awards. Heads up, the 2019 Merit Awards nominations will be open early in the new year. Whether a DHCD Commercial District Affiliate or VMS Designated Community, start thinking about your program’s recent achievements. We want to hear all about them!
The “Best Downtown Public Improvement Project” award is given to the community that has implemented a design project in the public sphere. A focus on quality design supports a community’s revitalization by enhancing the physical elements of downtown while capitalizing on the unique assets that set the commercial district apart. Gloucester’s Main Street Preservation Trust Executive Director Jenny Crittenden accepted the award for their Village Corridor Enhancement Project.
The 2009 Gloucester Court House Village Plan plan recommended that the trust lead the charge to improve the two gateways leading to the Main Street commercial district. The goal was to provide visual continuity between the gateways and to attract visitors to downtown shopping, dining, and historic sites.
The first phase of the project included the installation of 11 banner poles, the new Virginia Main Street sign, landscaping and brick pavers. Additionally, the trust and environmental planning firm VHB Inc. worked with the county and local garden club to relocate existing public art to the sites and planted 8,000 daffodils, daylilies, roses and native ornamental grasses.
Where people may have driven by the understated gateways to Main Street in the past, they now look and turn to see what is beckoning them. This project sends the message that the community invests in the downtown, much like its business and property owners do with their buildings.
Congratulations to Gloucester’s Main Street Preservation Trust and local partners!