The Plan Our Park Committee recently hired a team of professionals to invite the public and city officials to provide input on the proposed park concept, produce park conceptual drawings, develop park operational recommendations, and conduct a feasibility study. The study area includes not only possible park footprint options, but the impact and interrelationship with surrounding projects and properties.
During the week of July 30 to August 3 the team held a reception for the park Advisory Committee, conducted two public charette sessions (100 participants), held multiple focus groups (30 participants), and presented preliminary findings to the community. The attendance was impressive, the ideas exciting, the team energized, and over 700 Facebook likes generated.
Based on the input from citizens and stakeholders, nine guiding principles were developed:
- Keep the park as green as possible
- Keep the park family oriented and child friendly
- Actively program park activities to appeal to a broad range of interests and diversity
- Preserve and expand the farmers market at the heart of the park
- Create a new civic plaza space to support programs, events, and celebrate community
- Create and reinforce linkages to, from, and through the park to neighboring attractions
- Emphasize sustainability, adaptability, and change over time
- Have a park with vibrant cultural and social life
- Make the park a catalyst for development downtown and attract a diversity of residents and visitors
Eddie Bumbaugh is the Executive Director for Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance.