Harrisonburg, Luray and South Boston join downtown revitalization program

RICHMOND - Governor Mark R. Warner announced today that Harrisonburg, Luray, and South Boston have been officially designated as Virginia Main Street communities.

The designations bring the total of Virginia's Main Street communities to 20 across the state. Each community utilizes the technical assistance, training, and resources of the Main Street program to revitalize their downtown areas.

"I am a strong advocate of efforts to revitalize our traditional downtown commercial districts," Governor Warner said. "The Main Street program has achieved great success in bringing new life to our downtowns and making them excellent places for people to again live, work, and conduct business."

The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development implements the Virginia Main Street program. Virginia Main Street uses the National Main Street Four Point Approach(tm) model to help communities revitalize their downtowns, focusing on their unique heritage and attributes. The program helps communities develop strategies that create economic growth and pride in their downtown areas. Since its inception in 1985, the Virginia Main Street program has supported the creation, expansion, or retention of over 3,000 businesses and helped to create over 8,200 jobs in Main Street communities.

"The Virginia Main Street program is a successful economic development model that is making great things happen in Virginia's historic downtowns," said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Michael J. Schewel. "It's a pleasure to welcome Harrisonburg, Luray, and South Boston to the Main Street program. I know the communities will take full advantage of the program's resources as they work to achieve their individual revitalization goals."

The Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) accepts applications for new Main Street designations every three to four years. Communities seeking Main Street designations must have populations of 75,000 or less and have a traditional downtown district that includes at least 50 businesses and 70 commercial structures. Often times the downtown structures are older and have historic significance. These buildings are targeted for redevelopment through the Main Street program.

"In addition to the economic benefits that the Main Street program creates, it also makes significant improvements to the older, architectural gems that exist in Virginia's historic downtowns," explained Bill Shelton, DHCD Director. "Over the past 20 years the program has encouraged over $264million in private investment that has helped restore these buildings and increase the sophistication and charm of Virginia's downtowns," said Shelton.

Two of Virginia Main Street's designated communities have been recognized as national Great American Main Street communities by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Staunton received the award in 2002 and Manassas in 2003. The Great American Main Street Awards recognize exceptional accomplishments in revitalizing America's historic and older main street commercial districts.

For more information about the Virginia Main Street program, visit , or call 804-371-7030.