Harrisonburg recognized as a 2014 Great American Main Street

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Downtown Harrisonburg has been selected as the winner of the 2014 Great American Main Street Awards.

The award, announced earlier this week at the 2014 National Main Streets Conference in Detroit, is the country’s premier accolade for downtown revitalization.

According to the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance has led a transformation of the downtown district by increasing the number of downtown housing units, redeveloping and repurposing historic buildings, providing incentives for small businesses and entrepreneurs and establishing itself as a tourism destination for its culinary samplings and recreation.

“We are very proud to have a Virginia Main Street Community recognized as the 2014 Great American Main Street,” Bill Shelton, director of the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, said in a statement. “Harrisonburg has utilized strong partnership, creativity and all available resources to create a business-friendly downtown district that has made it a great place to work, live and play.”

Downtown Harrisonburg has a vacancy rate of 3.5 percent. It has seen an increase in real estate value to more than half a billion dollars and an increase in tax revenue, approaching $2 million. A strong partnership with the city of Harrisonburg and James Madison University and the ongoing support of sustainability initiatives make the area a hub for entrepreneurs.

“Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance is honored to have our revitalization success recognized at the national level,” Eddie Bumbaugh, executive director of Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance, said in a statement. “… We believe this announcement will build momentum for future projects, events and success.”

The other two 2014 winners are Milledgeville, Ga., and Woodbine, Iowa. Winners were selected by a national jury composed of former award winners, community development professionals and governmental agency representatives active in community revitalization and historic preservation.


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