Park Design

A Thoughtful, Creative Design

Our downtown park has been planned by renowned urban park planner Ken Smith, and represents an inviting realization of available space. With areas for relaxing and playing, concerts and performances, as well as an increase in room for our farmer's market, the park design is thoughtful and creative. Imagine walking the sweeping promenade on a beautiful day and feeling connected to nature and to your community.

Site Context

Build Our Park’s immediate surroundings are varied: residential, urban, and shades between. The study area is bound to the north by an approximately 400’ decked over, southwesterly meander of Black’s Run. Black’s Run disappears underground directly across Bruce Street from Build Our Park’s northeast-most corner. The stream reappears directly across Liberty Street from the project’s northwest-most corner. Black’s Run upstream watershed encompasses both downtown Harrisonburg and northern fringe. Facing the park immediately northwest of Blacks Run is the posterior of Harrisonburg Electric Commission’s downtown headquarters. Contemporary in style, the two-story building dates to the early 1960’s

A mid-block pedestrian walkway roughly follows partially decked, partially undecked Black’s Run two blocks north from the park’s Bruce Street, northern panhandle entrance to downtown Harrisonburg’s traditional center – Court Square. The Black’s Run pedestrian-way directly links the park both literally and figuratively to the heart of downtown.

Asbury United Methodist Church defines the northeast corner of the park. A church-owned green space bracketed by an attractive, historic carriage shed fronts the church’s porte-cochere drop-off and west wing. This green space backs up to the South Main Street facing Virginia Quilt Museum. Dedicated to preserving, celebrating, and nurturing Virginia's quilting heritage, the quilt museum features a permanent collection of nearly 300 quilts, a Civil War Gallery, antique and toy sewing machines, and rotating exhibits from across the United States.

Immediately south of the Virginia Quilt Museum, also facing South Main Street, is the Smith House housing offices and public gallery of the Arts Council of the Valley. The Arts Council is a multi-faceted community resource offering grants to artists and art educators, coordinating Harrisonburg’s First Fridays Downtown events, operating a creative theater / film space, and housing monthly, regional and local art exhibitions. The Greek Revival Smith House, built 1867, Harrisonburg’s fourth oldest building.

Urban Context

The City of Harrisonburg is located in the Shenandoah Valley region of Virginia, approximately two hours equidistant from Washington D.C. and Richmond. With a population of just over 50,000, the City is one of the largest municipalities in the Valley and twelfth largest in the State. Harrisonburg is also the county seat of Rockingham County. Harrisonburg’s large German, Brethren, Mennonite, Hispanic, African American, Asian, and Eastern European ethnic populations provide unique cultural diversity to the region.

Harrisonburg has a rich agricultural tradition and continues to rely on agriculture as part of the City’s economic development. The popular Downtown Farmer’s Market held in the Turner Pavilion symbolizes the region’s growing agritourism industry, exemplified by area farm and winery tours, with emphasis on locally grown produce and goods.

The area’s burgeoning technology and biotechnology sectors led by companies such as Rosetta Stone and Merck, combined with smaller technology companies associated with local universities, amplify Harrisonburg’s economy. City initiated technology centers, including the
Harrisonburg Technology Park and Harrisonburg Downtown Technology Zone, play a significant role in furthering Harrisonburg’s reputation as a technology incubator.

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