Vision for Downtown

Thanh -- September 24th, 2008

A presentation by local architect Eugene Stoltzfus, on The Vision for Downtown, will be held on Thursday September 25 at 6:30pm at City Council Chambers, 409 S. Main Street, Harrisonburg. The presentation is open to the public and will also be aired live on City Span, Channel 3 on Comcast Cable for citizens to watch from home.

The project was commissioned by the Economic Committee of Harrisonburg Downtown Renissance. One result of the project is an interesting book titled “Urban Values and a Vision for Downtown“. The project and book highlights “the good, the bad, and the ugly” of past development in Downtown Harrisonburg and uses descriptions alongside animated 3-D models to paint a vision for what Downtown Harrisonburg has the potential to become. The book specifically “explore[s] urban design ideas as they might relate to the Federal Street and South Liberty Street areas. [It] also look[s] at Black’s Run, the new Pedestrian Loop, and the Gateways into the city.”

9 Responses to “Vision for Downtown”

  1. Josh says:

    Thanks for sharing the book link! 100 pages, 25 megs, well worth downloading and skimming through.

  2. I have heard about Eugene’s work for months, but had never seen the renderings or content that is now in this digital book — WOW! Some exciting concepts for downtown Harrisonburg. I’m looking forward to the presentation!

  3. finnegan says:

    This is big. I hope to make it to this presentation, but it might not work out.

    Could this project be part of the reason why Lane Chelsey resigned as Homer City council member in Alaska, and moved here?

  4. John says:

    I love the concepts, but it’s a pipe dream until property owners (both public and private) get on board with it. The current situation downtown indicates that they are not.

    If one looks around downtown they see lots property in various states of disrepair. Some have undergone (or are currently undergoing) renovation, but the majority need lots of work. Heck, look at the entire North side of Court Square — from the 1st Pres to the corner is an embarrassment — and some of that is city owned! What kind of example is being set by that? One Court Square isn’t the only property owned by the city that is unoccupied and slowly deteriorating – they also have the old Police Dept and the warehouse behind it.

    Too many property owners are happy to hold on to their asset and watch them increase in value (piggy-backing on the hard work of other downtown property owners who have renovated their own buildings) regardless of whether it is an eyesore or not. And some of these very same owners are very recognizable names in town.

    Not to sound cynical, but their needs to be a huge attitude shift by the majority of owners of downtown property (or these properties need to be sold) for any of this to happen.

    I suppose the flip side is that this is one of the wonderful things about capitalism!

    I think Downtown Renaissance has done a wonderful job so far, but there are many owners who could have huge impacts on the rebuilding of downtown – but they aren’t listening to the message.

  5. finnegan says:

    John is spot on.

    There are some businesses downtown that I don’t patronize, simply because I know they’re not doing anything to encourage downtown revitalization. They are “piggybacking” as John puts it. Anyone remember the little red hen?

  6. Not to sound cynical, but their needs to be a huge attitude shift by the majority of owners of downtown property (or these properties need to be sold) for any of this to happen.

    I think that is a fair assessment, though I (optimistically) think that the revitalization efforts are gaining momentum, and that hopefully we are moving towards a tipping point.

  7. Renee says:

    Wow, really neat. Thanks!

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