Waynesboro to Revitalize Downtown

By: Donald Robinson
By: Donald Robinson

Waynesboro wants to breath new life into its downtown area and they may have found a way.

"It's important for downtowns to have people traffic," said economic consultant Donavan Rypkema. "To have that you need food and beverage operations, retailing, entertainment and you need housing."

The new plan calls for the top half of store fronts to be turned into places for people to live.

"A downtown worker will add something between $2,500 and $3,500 a year to the downtown economy, but a downtown resident will add three to four times that much," said Rypkema.

Officials say this project won't be easy. They believe some owners may resist, but they say they will do their best to work with them.

"The process to encourage residents in downtown would include things like working with property owners, looking to see what properties might be available and creating incentives for those property owners using the city," said WDDI Director Maureen Corum.

The hope is more traffic would create a demand and incentives for new businesses.

"I think it would be an asset," said business owner Webber Payne. "The second floor tenants would not only be a present in foot traffic, but just their spending habits downtown and their shopping in stores would just increase the need for other stores downtown."

The downtown area is already zoned for mix use. Some store fronts already have residents living over them.

50 North Main Street Harrisonburg, VA 22801 540-433-9191 - Switchboard 540-433- 4028 - Fax 540-433-2700 - News Fax

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