Faces + Places

Life in the downtown high-rise

Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance volunteer Judy Morehouse is part of a trend of retired Baby Boomers who are trading in their homes and yards in favor of maintenance-free, urban living. Originally from New York, she was on a roadtrip with a friend when they decided to stop for dinner at a chain restaurant on Rt. 33. Their waiter convinced them to visit downtown before they departed, and the rest is history. Several months later Morehouse had sold nearly all her possessions and signed a lease at Urban Exchange. In this post, the “204 Stripper” as she’s known at Urban Exchange (you’ll have to ask her yourself how she got the nickname), discusses what it’s like living in downtown, Harrisonburg.

post by Judy Morehouse; photos by Lisa N. Ha

I have the honor of being an original Baby Boomer residing at the Urban Exchange in downtown Harrisonburg, and I just love living here! After retiring and owning an older home (with all the problems an older home can generate) I decided to rid my life of all the excess I had accumulated over many years, including the house and most of its contents, and move to a new state, new city, and begin a new journey — and, here I am at Urban Exchange in Rocktown, USA!

At first, I was concerned learning that many students also shared my new space and many of them had dogs to care for  in addition to themselves. I soon realized that these residents were serious students who just needed the comfort a pet brings to a stressful life. As time has progressed, the concern has almost disappeared. Urban Exchange offers many amenities besides a beautiful living space, which include a washer and dryer in each unit, high-speed internet connection and cable tv, all included in the rent. A first-class exercise room with the latest exercise equipment, a small meeting/study/library area, a beautiful courtyard, and lots of security are also included. There are two gated entrances to the parking decks, an elevator accessed by a “magic wand,” an Airphone to view, speak and unlock the outside entrance door from inside your unit, and double locks on your unit entrance door, all to make me feel very secure in my new home. The on-site management team is excellent and responds to all tenant requests within hours/days, when the proper channels are used to report the problem(s).

As you might imagine, the resident age difference varies from 19-60+ (the latter category is where I fit in), and I feel there is a mutual respect amongst us “Urbanites.”  The residents are courteous, talkative and full of life, no matter what your age. The downtown area, JMU, the library, the Farmer’s Market, the post office, Rockingham Memorial Hospital, and many churches are within walking distance. I rarely use my car, so gasoline expense is minimal. When acquaintances learn that I live in the “downtown high-rise,” as they call it, they can’t wait for an invitation to visit and satisfy their curiosity. I think I have around 10 visits planned for the future!

Choosing to live in a downtown environment, leasing from Urban Exchange, and renewing my spirit of adventure have made my life in Rocktown a truly wonderful experience and I just love it!

And, the journey continues……

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