Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance leads an ongoing, comprehensive downtown management program. We bring ideas and people together to help create an exciting and attractive place to live, work, invest, and visit.
Established in 2003, HDR set out to reverse the devastating impact many years of economic decline had on downtown. In the 19th and 20th centuries, Harrisonburg’s downtown thrived as the bustling county seat of Rockingham County but struggled when people and businesses began moving to the suburbs. HDR worked with local government, business and property owners, and community groups to bring them back.
Today, downtown is the heart and soul of Harrisonburg. There is always something to do, including dance classes; art workshops and yoga at our craft breweries; live music; the farmers market; art exhibits; movies, and so much more. Our walkable, bikeable community offers much to explore from 30+ restaurants to museums to local history. Our quality of life is highly sought after -- downtown Harrisonburg is a livable, vibrant community where people are passionate about the Shenandoah Valley and creating a place that we love together. Downtown is where you can start your business, walk to work, meet your neighbors, raise your family, enjoy the mountains, get involved, and shop local.
How did we do it?
By using the Main Street Four-Point Approach™ -- a proven downtown revitalization strategy created by the National Main Street Center- we found new economic uses for old buildings, filled the year with festivals and events, initiated beautification projects, encouraged historic preservation, helped existing businesses thrive and new ones to open.
We’re not in this alone. Community members roll up their sleeves and put their time, energy, and donations where their hearts are – downtown! HDR is a community-driven organization guided by volunteers who set our direction through our board of directors and lead initiatives through committees. Our volunteers are our advisors, project managers, champions, and workforce. Our partners help realize our vision for downtown by working collaboratively with us on initiatives and through their own projects. Together, we won the Great American Main Street Award, earning national recognition as a leader in downtown revitalization. Together, we keep downtown’s momentum going. There is more work to be done, and the best is yet to come!
Main Street America is a program of the nonprofit National Main Street Center, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.