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WDDI HOSTS STATE MAIN STREET CONFERENCE

 

This July WDDI hosted over 80 Virginia Main Street directors, economic development professionals, city planners and top level DHCD staff for Virginia Main Street's Quarterly Training: "Bringing the Outdoors Downtown: Outdoor Recreation and Main Street Revitalization". Waynesboro was chosen to host this training because of WDDI's 13 year focus on the South River as an asset and catalyst for downtown Waynesboro's revitalization.

 

DHCD officials indicated that the long-term efforts of WDDI, working with city staff towards a common vision, has created a momentum that has caught the attention of Richmond and DC.  Louellen Brumgard, Associate Director at VA Department of Housing and Community Development, said "For the past 13 years, WDDI and the city have done an exemplary job of tying downtown revitalization efforts to one of the community’s most remarkable outdoor recreation assets, the South River. Once neglected and polluted, the river is now recognized as an economic engine that is bringing both public and private investment to the downtown, attracting visitors and improving the quality of life of residents.  From the redevelopment of Constitution Park and the construction of riverside amenities like the greenway, Dominion Pavilion and the fish-deck, to riverside festivals, the redevelopment of vacant buildings for new downtown housing and efforts to grow the Center for Coldwaters Restoration, WDDI and the city’s focus on the river as an economic engine is a great illustration of the Main Street principle of identifying and capitalizing on a community’s existing assets.

 

Brad Belo, Program Administrator at VA Dept. of Housing and Community Development, said "Waynesboro was an obvious choice for our workshop focusing on outdoor recreation. Waynesboro’s outdoor recreation assets, ranging from an urban trout fishery, public parks and trails along the South River and its proximity to world-famous destinations like the Shenandoah National Park, Blue Ridge Parkway and Appalachian Trail, help make downtown Waynesboro a destination of choice for tourists and residents alike.  By recognizing and building on these assets, WDDI and the city are helping to attract the private investment and entrepreneurial interest that will continue

with the revitalization of the downtown, and it makes it a great example to

share with the other members of the Virginia Main Street community."

 

Conference attendees spent two days in Waynesboro, toured downtown, enjoyed canoe rides and a nature walk on the South River and visited the Center for Coldwaters Restoration's "living brochure" on Main Street.

Where great experiences come naturally ...