Washington - The National Main Street Center announced tonight that downtown Harrisonburg, Va. was chosen as a 2014 Great American Main Street Awards® (GAMSA) winner.
Bestowed by the National Main Street Center, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the GAMSA is the nation's premier accolade for downtown revitalization achievement. Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance received the award at the 2014 National Main Streets Conference held in Detroit.
Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance (HDR) has led a remarkable transformation over the last decade, using the National Main Street Center's methodology to reinvigorate its historic downtown. HDR's formula for success included boosting the number of downtown housing units, fostering the redevelopment of significant historic buildings, cultivating its reputation as a culinary, recreation and heritage tourism destination, and creating economic incentives for small businesses and entrepreneurs.
"Harrisonburg provides an excellent example of how traditional downtowns can become a business-friendly environment for small business start-ups, especially from the tech sector," says Patrice Frey, president and CEO of the National Main Street Center. "We applaud the combination of historic tax credits to redevelop Harrisonburg's existing fabric with community revitalization incentives to make the city a hub for entrepreneurs."
The results are outstanding. Downtown Harrisonburg enjoys a low vacancy rate of 3.5 percent, an increase in real estate value to more than half a billion dollars, and an increase in tax revenue approaching $2 million. Other achievements include a strong partnership with the City of Harrisonburg and James Madison University and the ongoing support of sustainability initiatives that attract downtown residents and improve overall quality of life.
"Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance is honored to have our revitalization success recognized at the national level," says Eddie Bumbaugh, executive director of Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance. "The GAMSA award is a testament to the work of our organization, city government and community members, and 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 who are active in community revitalization and historic preservation. Criteria for winning include: strength of the Main Street in creating an exciting place to live, work, play and visit; commitment to historic preservation; implementation of model partnerships, and demonstrated success of the Main Street Four-Point Approach.®
To learn about previous GAMSA winners, visit http://www.preservationnation.org/main-street/awards/gamsa/.
The Main Street Four-Point Approach® is a proven methodology for historic preservation-based community revitalization. It was developed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation more than 30 years ago and has been implemented by more than 2,000 communities throughout the U.S.
© Copyright 2014 WHSV / Gray Television Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.