In the next year, downtown Harrisonburg will get a $1 million face lift. On Tuesday night, the city council helped prioritize the list of projects, and residents will start noticing some improvements within the next six months.
With the money Harrisonburg appropriated for streetscaping projects and wayfinding signs, the former city manager and Downtown Renaissance executive director, Eddie Bumbaugh, presented several projects the city will go through in order to enhance the downtown.
The Harrisonburg City Council appropriated $500,000 for wayfinding signs to direct residents and tourists to key attractions downtown.
"They're custom designed, to have a unique appearance, they will be unlike any other community's in the country because they were designed for Harrisonburg," says Bumbaugh. "The colors and the design costs are factored in as well as the number."
The council also set aside another $500,000 to enhance the downtown's streetscape. With the money, the World War I Memorial, the sidewalk along Main Street, and the 100-year old waterline around Court Square will be improved.
"There will be benches, improved landscape, a more historic feel," says Bumbaugh. "Replacing the sidewalks and the pavers that are approximately thirty years old with historic brick and around Court Square even having limestone and granite curbs as was the case years ago."
Even though there are more streetscape projects the city would like to complete, the mayor says getting these first couple done as soon as possible will benefit the community.
"To me it's a good business decision and it's the thing that we need to do not only for appearances, but it's good for the economy as well," says Harrisonburg Mayor Rodney Eagle.
Within the next week, the wayfinding signs will go out to bid. The streetscapes will be open to bid by the fall. The city council is talking about changing the I-81 exit for downtown to the Port Republic Road exit. But they may have to hold off on that and other ways of changing signage due to the JMU tunnel construction next year on Main Street.