On Sunday, May 18th, Mayor Ted Byrd, City Councilman Kai Degner, and members of the Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance’s Board of Directors, committees and staff were aboard three planes that touched down in Detroit, Michigan. Detroit was the location of the 2014 National Main Streets Conference, where more than 1,300 people gathered to reflect on the Main Street movement that is transforming cities across the U.S.
At the opening plenary of the conference, the National Main Street Center, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, revealed the winners of the Great American Main Street Award. When Harrisonburg was announced from the podium, fellow Virginians cheered from their seats and 19 representatives from Harrisonburg proudly walked on stage to accept the prestigious honor.
Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance’s Executive Director, Eddie Bumbaugh led the way, symbolic of his efforts to lead the revitalization efforts of downtown Harrisonburg during the organization’s 11-year history.
Curt Hartman, owner of Bluestone Vineyard, was also amongst the group of Harrisonburg representatives. Curt generously donated his private plane to fly three members of the group to Michigan. When Curt was thanked at the conference, he humbly replied, “I believe in what Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance is doing. Flying to Michigan was my way of supporting HDR’s efforts.”
Curt wasn’t the only one to show his support for Harrisonburg receiving the GAMSA Award. Dynamic Aviation also donated a private plane that flew seven members of HDR’s Executive committee to the conference for the evening to accept the award.
“Winning the award was a huge source of pride for our community,” says Andy Perrine, Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance’s Board President. “But, the fact that two local businesses flew board members and supporters to Detroit is clear evidence of just how special our community really is.”
The Great American Main Street Award is bestowed on three communities that are selected from a pool of nationwide applicants. Winners of the award are selected based on their exemplary approach to the Main Street Four Points Approach.
“This award recognizes Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance for outstanding commitment to revitalization, but every single individual who has put energy into downtown over the last 11 years can be proud. The city investment in downtown revitalization continues to pay back,” says Kai Degner, City Council member. “I look forward to what’s next”