Meet HDR…

    HDR was created to reactivate the downtown historic district as the economic and social hub of Harrisonburg. Since our inception in 2003, the community has volunteered over 100,000 hours to support HDR’s events, downtown promotions, and beautification projects that attracted businesses, developers and commerce back into the once-neglected streets and buildings. Over $105 million in private and public dollars have been reinvested; downtown housing grew from 150 to 600 units; the number of eateries has expanded from 12 to 36 restaurants plus 5 breweries; and the region enjoys our welcoming year-round events. When HDR started, people may have come here with one stop in mind. Now the entire downtown is their destination! Our downtown earned national recognition as a Great American Main Street Award winner and the National Main Street Center recognized HDR as a leader in revitalization. But, we aren’t stopping!

    Celebrating Community

    The streets of downtown are where connections happen through community events, civic and social gatherings. HDR creates events and works with other organizations to bring their events to life. Find event space for your celebration Plan a city event 

    Creating a Destination

    A movement, led by HDR, to reframe how we view our streets and businesses as a place to have genuine interactions with each other. Each street in downtown has their own story to tell and we want you to be the illustrators. Connect with us and have a direct impact on how the public spaces in your downtown look, function, and feel.

    Supporting Local

    HDR pours its heart into helping local small business owners succeed. Through business assistance, workshops, promotions, consultations, and partnerships, downtown Harrisonburg has become economically prosperous.

    Building a Downtown Together

    The achievements of downtown Harrisonburg is a success story for the whole community to celebrate. From a grassroots beginning to a Great American Main Street award winner, HDR and downtown Harrisonburg are here because of you. Get involved and help continue to build the community where you want to live.

    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 35+ 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 ApproachTM -- a proven downtown revitalization strategy created by the National Main Street Center. We found new economic uses for old buildings, led 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! HDR is an accredited Main Street America™ program.


    Downtown and HDR are at an important crossroads. After years of building partnerships, supporting key projects, coordinating efforts among business owners, and providing resources to help downtown stabilize and grow - we have experienced many benefits of the revitalization effort. Jobs have been created; commercial property values have increased; tax revenues have grown; historic buildings look vibrant; businesses are prospering; and people are moving here. Investment in downtown has reached an unprecedented level which shows solid belief in and commitment to our city center. In fact, the private sector is so heavily invested, some may believe the renaissance is done. But, there is still much work to do. As HDR looks forward, it sees new opportunities and important initiatives ahead:

    • With the coming of the Hotel Madison & Shenandoah Valley Conference Center and a downtown park, coordinated efforts are critical to connect those visitors to businesses and amenities throughout the downtown
    • Retail in America is changing and requires a new data-driven approach to help businesses identify and attract new customers, strategically expand into new products and services, and sharpen their competitive edge. In late 2017, we worked with the city and county to commission a regional market analysis that will give us the data we need to adopt a coordinated economic development strategy and chart a practical path forward.
    • National trends show that customers are seeking more than transactions from businesses. They want to visit unique destinations, make connections with their community, and have distinct experiences. Shifts in business recruitment and business assistance programs are necessary for small downtown businesses to succeed.
    • The incredible diversity of Harrisonburg isn’t widely reflected in the faces and places of downtown. We need to explore if all community members feel welcome? Do products and services appeal to a wide customer base? Are there entrepreneurs from diverse communities who want to open businesses downtown? How can our organization become more diverse?

    Our fundamental mission to support and enhance the downtown isn’t going to change. We just need to be more strategic, more inclusive, and more focused on economic development. We have many new opportunities ahead & we are going to figure out what’s next together.

    Our Team

    Andrea Dono, Executive Director

    Andrea has extensive experience in Main Street revitalization and community-based economic development. For 10 years, she worked for the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Main Street Center where she helped lead and inspire a nationwide downtown revitalization movement. She specialized in researching and analyzing revitalization best practices and trends and providing technical assistance and resources to Main Street programs throughout the U.S.

    Andrea previously served as the economic development coordinator for the City of Manassas, Virginia. She holds a B.A. from George Mason University and a Historic Preservation Certificate from Goucher College. She has been working toward a Master’s degree in urban planning with a focus on economic development.

    As Executive Director, Andrea’s main responsibilities include partnership development, facilitating community collaborations, fundraising, working with local businesses, community outreach, volunteer engagement, and managing the day-to-day operations of the organization. Prospective downtown business owners, entrepreneurs, and property owners can connect with Andrea on site selection and assistance programs.

    Email Andrea

    Jennifer Bayes, Director of Special Events

    Jennifer grew up in Harrisonburg and had the opportunity to watch Downtown Harrisonburg grow and evolve into what it is now. She holds a B.A. in Communications and Conflict from the University of Central Florida in Orlando. After living in Florida for 5 years, she made the decision to move back to Harrisonburg and is very glad she did!

    As Director of Special Projects, Jennifer is responsible for planning and executing HDR’s community events, as well as consulting with organizers hoping to plan their own events downtown. She also assists on grant programs, special projects, and initiatives central to HDR’s mission.

    Email Jennifer

    Emily Winter, Director of Marketing

    Emily Winter is a double Duke, graduating from James Madison University with both a B.A. and M.A. in Communication Studies. With her previous role at JMU X-Labs, she partnered with several downtown businesses to develop and market engaging workshops and large-scale events.

    As Director of Marketing, she is responsible for all promotions and public relations regarding HDR and its events as well as marketing support for the downtown businesses.

    Email Emily

    Erin Smith, Project Assistant

    Erin has been working and volunteering with HDR in various capacities since the summer of 2016. She holds a B.A. from Virginia Tech and a Masters of Public Administration from James Madison University.

    In her role as Project Assistant, Erin works closely with Jennifer in event planning and execution, Emily in downtown marketing and promotions, and Andrea and Julie in fundraising and administration, and also takes on the occasional creative project related to supporting and promoting downtown.

    Email Erin

    Julie M. Clough, Development Specialist

    New to the area, Julie comes to HDR after serving Main Street for over 14 years. She will focus on fund development through community relationships and campaigns.

    Email Julie

    Kate Harwood, Marketing Intern

    Kate Harwood is currently a rising senior at James Madison University, double majoring in Communication Studies and Media Arts and Design. She served JMU as a 2020 Orientation Peer Adviser and is currently a member of the JMU Speech Team.  When she is not working for HDR, you can find Kate hiking throughout the Shenandoah Valley or spending quality time with friends in the local coffee shops downtown. She adores the unique atmosphere and creatively collaborative nature of Downtown Harrisonburg. There is truly no place like The Friendly City. 

    As the Summer Marketing Intern, Kate assists Emily Winter, Director of Marketing in developing, researching, and producing content for HDR’s social media platforms. Kate contributes to HDR with helping to write blurbs for the newsletter, interviewing business owners, and overall helping HDR’s marketing and communications department. Kate is passionate about serving the Downtown Harrisonburg community through marketing strategy and creativity. 

    Eleanor Weber, Marketing Intern

    Eleanor Weber is currently a senior at James Madison University, graduating in December 2021 with a B.S. in Anthropology and a minor in Public Policy and Administration. At JMU, she has worked as a news writer for The Breeze, served as an executive member in her sorority, and interned with the Lisanby Museum and Madison Arts Collection. She’s interned at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Mariners Museum, and TowneBank in past summers. When she is not working for HDR, you can find Eleanor spending time exploring downtown Harrisonburg with friends, or painting and creating. She loves the community Harrisonburg has created, and the unique things there are to do in the city. 

    As one of the Fall Marketing Interns, Eleanor assists Emily Winter, Director of Marketing in developing, researching, and producing content for HDR’s social media platforms. Eleanor contributes to HDR by writing blurbs for the newsletter, updating the blog, and overall helping HDR’s marketing and communications department. Eleanor is passionate about serving the Downtown Harrisonburg community through utilizing her writing skills and working to find creative ways to market the community.  

    Email Eleanor

    Our Board of Directors

    Employment Opportunities

    No current employment opportunities found at this time.