Neighbor Has Mixed Emotions Over Reservoir Street Project

By: Jazmin Bailey Email
By: Jazmin Bailey Email

HARRISONBURG, Va. -- A $14 million project that will expand Reservoir Street in Harrisonburg is underway.

To complete the project, the City is attempting to buy 104 pieces of property. Nineteen include buildings that will eventually be demolished.

Dawn Hottinger lives on Reservoir Street and took an offer for her home in March.

"After I signed the papers, I just came home and cried," she said.

That home is the only home Hottinger has ever known and also the place where her parents died.

When the project is complete, Reservoir Street will have five foot sidewalks on either side. There will also be five lanes for traffic to travel.

Two lanes will take drivers toward Rockingham County and two more will take drivers toward Harrisonburg. There will be center turn lanes at Woodland Drive, Foley Road, Ridgeville Lane, Dogwood Commons and Stonewall Drive.

In its current state, Hottinger said there are major issues with Reservoir Street.

"It's backed up and you have to wait. People are passing you. You can't let your guard down. If you do, you're going to get hurt."

Drew Williams is the Assistant Director of Public Works for Harrisonburg. He said the design of the new street will eliminate those problems.

"You don't have all the traffic concerns we see on some of our other five-lane roads where people are turning in that center lane. It really helps keep traffic moving," Williams said.

Moving is something Hottinger said was not a real choice.

"The way they put it to you, you either sell it or we're going to come in and take it, " she said.

Williams said every offer was fair and based on current market values. "We're paying for the loss of their house that they can use as a down payment," he said.

Although the City made an offer she thought was fair, Hottinger said they forgot about the small things.

"You have to get the electric on at a new place and you have to get water hooked up at a new place. You have to have deposits," she said.

Hottinger has to move out by July and said letting go will be tough.

"The day that I leave here for good is going to be one of the hardest days of my life. It's going to be hard to say bye."

The next step in the project is to perform asbestos assessments on buildings that will be demolished. Once the demolitions are complete, the City will begin to move utilities.

Road construction is set to begin in the summer of 2014. is happy to provide a forum for commenting and discussion. Please respect and abide by the house rules:

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