Design & Beautification

Language of Love Public Art Installation (Sculpture per year)

We posted a call for artists to submit proposals for a new art installation next to the LOVEworks sculpture behind the Smith House. Before the end of the year, we’ll convene a selection panel of community members to choose an artist to work with. In early 2019, the artist will meet with Harrisonburg High School students to get inspiration to fuel final designs for a new work of art downtown that will represent one of our community’s biggest assets – our multiculturalism and diversity. In the spring, we’ll unveil the new work of art. This project is being done in partnership with the Arts Council of the Valley. HDR will begin work on planning another installation for 2020.

Downtown Park

HDR serves on the Build Our Park board of directors to work with other community members to help realize the dream of a downtown park for recreation and events. We provide on-going leadership for the organization as well as make frequent donations and write grants to help fund the project.

This year, the HDR Design Committee volunteers redesigned the park concept for free to fit into a smaller footprint as requested by the city. This project was then submitted as an unsolicited proposal for the city’s review and consideration. The city brought in outside analysts to assist with the review of the proposal and HDR provided background information and participated in a portion of the analysts’ visit in the fall. We are now getting ready to draft an interim agreement to hopefully hit the ground running to make the park happen. Also this year, HDR contributed $5000 to Build Our Park from Friendly City Fortune funds during the Great Community Give and participated in the day of giving as a donor instead of a recipient. We made a power hour donation which helped Build Our Park receive an extra $2000 at the end of the fund raising day.

To learn more about the project and to get updates, visit Build Our Park’s website –

Downtown Trailblazing

We used our Virginia Main Street free technical service in 2018 to participate in a workshop with a community design expert to figure out some ways that we can creatively encourage pedestrians to circulate throughout downtown instead of not going beyond our more popular areas. Design Committee members, Friendly City Merchants members, city and HDR staff, and JMU environmental design students participated in the workshop this fall. Great ideas were generated and the JMU student developed a few concepts for us to consider. We will discuss their concepts with our Design Committee as well as with interested businesses so we can further develop our favorite ideas and get some final drawings next year. We plan to develop a great system together with our partners and will seek city approval so we can start looking for funds. We’ll post more information and hopefully some of the drawings as soon as we can this winter.

Holiday Decorations

HDR has purchased brand new decorations to help illuminate downtown even more this holiday season. 

Downtown Beautification

Our Community Engagement Committee helps us make the Friendly City Fortune mega raffle a success every year, but they also help us brainstorm projects that could make an impact in the community. This year, we decided to take a look at Water Street and the alleyway in between Finnegans and Beyond. All of our volunteers thought that the street is an important pedestrian pathway for people traveling to and from Court Square as well as for people who arrive downtown and park in garage. We thought it was time to take a look at the dirty sidewalks, lack of flowers, lack of art, and lack of personality or pizzazz. We’ve been talking with the business and property owners adjacent to the alley and will have a few improvements to announce around Thanksgiving. Then we’ll think of ways to keep sprucing up appearances for additional installations next year.

For Water Street, we hope to install an Art Bike rack next year as part of the Destination Downtown grant and are working with Design Committee members on new street furniture and planters. We’ll be sharing those ideas with the business and property owners on this block for their feedback in addition to looking for volunteers to plant and keep new landscaping alive for the long haul!

There have been conversations among community members about bringing an art trail through downtown, which could include this stretch of downtown and we also really love musical instruments placed along such a trail. We’re talking about taking a big picture look at downtown and partnering with others to make a bigger, more extensive project happen. Perhaps with a really nice, big grant!