$2 Million Win for Biking and Walking in Harrisonburg
By Brighid O'Keane on November 14, 2012
In September, Advocacy Advance Workshop participants - including four of the five City Council members and Mayor of Harrisonburg - claimed that Harrisonburg will become the bicycling capital of Virginia. Since then, they have taken a giant leap towards meeting that goal: over $2 million was invested in bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure in 24 hours.
How did it happen?
First, advocates got their projects on the list of beneficiaries of the city’s $6.7 million surplus. $443,000 was proposed to go to the Bluestone Trail and $600,000 to the Northend Greenway – a multiuse path and important connector to downtown.
Second, advocates rallied the troops, organized and communicated through social media to get community members to attend the public hearing and support the city’s proposal of how to spend the $6.7 million surplus funds. The City Council unanimously approved the plan in its standing-room-only chambers.
And that’s not all!
Before the meeting, Suzy Carter, Program Director of the Northend Greenways, learned that both bike/ped projects qualify for Virginia DOT’s revenue sharing program. This means that the City could use its investment and apply for 1:1 matching funds from the state.
At the end of the Council meeting, the City Manager proposed that Council allow him to apply for the matching funds - giving credit to the Northend Greenway for discovering this opportunity - and Council approved it unanimously.
Once VDOT approves the matching funds, the total investment will be over $2 million, funding both the Bluestone Trail and Northend Greenway, a major success for local advocates.
Photo: Aaron Harper Johnston Photography
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