Envision a place downtown where you can take an evening stroll, where the community can gather, where you can walk the dog, where children can play, and where a landscaped oasis sets the stage for both relaxation and special events – depending on what exciting activities the community plans! 

A public-private partnership, of which HDR is only one participant, is leading the effort to build an urban park in the downtown and has made considerable progress in bringing this idea to reality. The effort, which was originally called “Plan Our Park,” has moved into the fund-raising phase and is now called the “Build Our Park” initiative.   

Check back soon to donate to the park online!

What Is It? The land adjacent to the Turner Pavilion in downtown Harrisonburg, where many festivals and events are held throughout the year, is proposed to become a downtown park. The project will be phased. Phase one will build an expanded Park Pavilion. Phase two will build the surrounding park, trails, playground, water features, landscaping, picnic areas, and performance areas.

Status: The proposed $5.5 million park has been included in the City’s Draft Capital Improvement Program for Fiscal Year 2016-2017 through Fiscal Year 2020-2021. Planning and fund raising is kicking off in spring 2016. Construction of phase one could potentially begin after July 1, 2017.

The future of the park hinges on securing private financial support. The committee submitted a grant application for almost $100,000 to USDA this spring.

Fund Raising: The Committee has raised over $130,000 so far and is working toward soliciting donations and sponsorships to meet its goal of $1.5 million. The City would be asked to fund the remaining amount of the proposed park project.

Individuals, community groups, and businesses are invited to contribute toward building the park. Everyone who is supportive of bringing a park to the downtown can make a one-time contribution, a recurring contribution, or sponsor an element of the park with the option of making the donation in their name or in honor of someone or an organization. Sponsorship levels range from $250 for a bench to $500,000 for park naming rights. Check back soon to view a sponsorship brochure with a list of park amenities and sponsorship levels. Please email the Committee for more information or to inquire about sponsorship.

Who Is It? More than a dozen community members volunteer on Build Our Park committees and taskforces and include representatives from JMU, HDR, downtown businesses, the City of Harrisonburg staff and members of City Council, downtown business community, and local residents. In February 2016, HDR recognized the long-term efforts of the members of the Park Committee and Taskforce with the Volunteer of the Year award.

History: The Plan Our Park initiative began five years ago when volunteers began researching parks in other communities and investigating if a park could be built in downtown Harrisonburg. A team of community volunteers have invested hundreds of hours on this research, planning, and hosting public meetings and community outreach activities. They raised funds to hire a professional landscape architect, Ken Smith, to conduct a feasibility study and design a park. Their plan was brought to City Council, which accepted it, and sparked a true public-private partnership when multiple city staff joined the planning committees.

“Like” the Plan Our Park Facebook Page.

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