Q: With the two downtown parking decks having high usage and showing signs of age, are any improvements planned?
A: The Water Street and Elizabeth Street decks are approximately 40 years old. In the opinion of many people, the decks are in need of improvements to create a more pleasant environment and address the times when both decks are full. HDR, the city, and private interests are developing a plan to bring several relatively low-cost enhancements to the decks.
Last year, HDR raised funds through donations at Renaissance Night to purchase cases for the parking decks to display event announcements and downtown maps with business listings. In addition to these cases, new signs will be strategically located in the decks to direct people towards alternative parking and thank them for visiting downtown. These signs will be produced and installed in collaboration with the City of Harrisonburg’s Downtown Parking Services and Public Works Department. The design and colors of both projects will be compatible with the way-finding signs currently visible throughout downtown.
Also at this year’s Renaissance Night event, donations were made to assist in funding Virginia Sun Power to install a living wall in the southwest stairwell of the Elizabeth Street deck. The plants will add life to that wall and be irrigated by a solar-powered pump with water runoff from the upper level collected in a storage tank. A grant from Virginia Main Street will cover most of the costs associated with preparing and painting the surface of the two stairwells on the west side of the Elizabeth Street deck.
Final plans are in the process of development, approvals are being sought, and bids will soon be requested. The goal is to complete all aspects of the project during autumn this year.
Eddie Bumbaugh is the Executive Director for Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance.