City Council was recently presented with preliminary design plans from the private Plan Our Park design team, on conceptual ideas for a park in downtown Harrisonburg. The park would be located in the area of the existing Municipal Building, Farmers Market, and future City Hall. Plan Our Park representatives have requested the city enter into a public-private partnership to make these plans a reality. Currently, these efforts remain a private feasibility and design project, with no city funding or final approval by City Council.

To view the presentation that was made to City Council on December 10, 2013 by representatives of the Plan Our Park Committee go to:

The City of Harrisonburg is working on Phase 2 of the Downtown Streetscape Project to take "Our Next Steps" on enhancing the already beautiful downtown area. Improvements include sidewalk reconstruction, addition of curb ramps, and replacement of traffic signal poles, lighting, and landscaping. Phase 2 of this project will take place on the west side of Main Street from Bruce Street to Court Square and on the east side of Main Street from Elizabeth Street to Wolfe Street. More project-specific information is available at

This project will include the construction of a sidewalk on the south side of East Market Street, between Carlton Street and just north of Hawkins Street. Pedestrian signals will also be installed at the intersections of East Market Street and Carlton Street and East Market Street and Hawkins/Vine Street. Construction will begin by the end of April and is anticipated to be complete by the end of August.

Residents of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County are invited to give input for what they would like to see to address overcrowding at the Rockingham County Regional Jail. The city and county have contracted with Richmond-based Moseley Architects to conduct a community-based corrections study and facility planning study that will examine current trends and future projections relative to jail population, as well as consider possible alternative programs and overall facility needs.

Three public listening sessions will be held in August.

  • August 7, from 6pm-8pm at Spotswood High School, 368 Blazer Drive, Penn Laird;
  • August 11, from 7pm-9pm in Harrisonburg City Council Chambers, 409 S. Main St.; and
  • August 14, from 6pm-8pm at Turner Ashby High School, 800 N. Main St., Bridgewater.

The purpose of the meetings will be to gather input and hear what improvements or alternative programs residents have to alleviate the problem. Any ideas posted to Be Heard Harrisonburg by August 14, 2014 will be shared with the committee.

Discussion: Share The Road

The city has partnered with the community to spread safety messages to pedestrians, motorists, and bicyclists. The goal of the safety campaign (Share the Road) is to remind those traveling through Harrisonburg of their duties and responsibilities, and to be mindful of others. It is important that our community understands the rules of the road for all modes of transportation to better anticipate other's needs. The city is now looking for ideas from the community. Post ideas to the three topics listed below on how you pledge to stay safe in Harrisonburg as either a pedestrian, motorist, or bicyclist. 

More information about this campaign is available at 

Discussion: Autumn is Here

Sept. 23 is the first full day of Autumn and we want to know what your favorite fall events/activities are.

Summer is a very busy time for Harrisonburg's Parks and Recreation Department. Residents, both young and more experienced, are able to participate in a host of activities from bike trails to swimming pools. More information about the variety of recreation activities offered by Parks and Recreation is available at 

Discussion: Are You Prepared?

September is National Preparedness Month. Each department within the City of Harrisonburg has plans in place to ensure they are prepared for a variety of disasters that could arise. Harrisonburg, along with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM), is encouraging the community to "Be Disaster Aware, Take Action to Prepare." 

Additional resources on emergency preparedness are available at

Harrisonburg continues working to educate and inform its citizenry about polluted runoff, stormwater runoff, stormwater management, regulations, and the responsibility that is shared by the entire community. We want to know, what do you want to know about this topic?

More information about this is available online

Harrisonburg is partnering with several other agencies to promote the ever-growing food culture in Harrisonburg. After receiving some grant money, a new program and competition, "What's Cooking," was developed to build on the growing food culture in the region, support existing businesses, cultivate new entrepreneurs, and serve as a model for future projects. Those interested in participating were invited to pitch their initial idea and received constructive feedback

The city's Public Works Department is in the process of developing a plan to prioritize a list of projects and programs that will improve local water quality. Examples include stream restoration, enhancement of existing green infrastructure, and development of new green infrastructure projects. Projects will use revenue from the stormwater utility fee fund. 

To review the plan visit

Members of the public are invited to comment on this plan. Comments will be accepted until Wednesday, April 5. 

The City continues developing the budget for the next fiscal year (2015-2016). We received a great response on the survey that was previously posted and wanted to keep the discussions going. Please add NEW ideas to this discussion. 

To review the survey results, simply visit

Members of the Harrisonburg City School Board are voted in to office based on whether they reside in the east ward or west ward, with the dividing line being the center line of Main Street. There are currently six school board members with four members representing the east school district and two representing the west school district. The reasoning behind this split was based on the population shifts revealed by the 2000 census. The voting wards have separate jurisdictional boundaries than the school districts, which determine the elementary school or middle school that children attend. 

In recent weeks, the possibility of changing how school board members are elected, eliminating the wards, and perhaps changing to an odd number of school board members  has been discussed.

City council has several options that they could consider:

1. Do nothing and leave the ordinances governing the election of school board members as they currently are.

2. Maintain the existing two school district system, but eliminate the at-large voting for district representation. In other words, amend city ordinances to provide that voters can only vote for candidates to represent their own school district.

3. Move to an at-large election of all school board members.

4. Move to a process by which there are multiple school election districts, represented by one school board member.

5. Move to a combination of at-large and district representation.

6. Change from an even number of school board members to an odd number.


What do you think? What changes, if any, should be made and why?

Discussion: Safe Routes to School

The city of Harrisonburg continues making strides with its third Safe Routes to School Project at Stone Spring Elementary School. 

Construction started in May and the project includes new sidewalks, new traffic and pedestrian signals at the school entrance and sidewalk improvements on the school grounds. 

This discussion was created in an effort to get the community, both young and old, more involved in the project. The city wants to hear from you!

Why do you like biking or walking to school?

Additional information on this project is available at

On Tuesday, August 4 the Harrisonburg Police Department will partner with the community to celebrate its annual National Night Out event. This is celebrated each year to give crime in Harrisonburg a going away party. It is imporant for the police, other city leaders and the community partner together to show a united front against crime. 

For a list of scheduled neighborhood stops and more information on this event, please visit

We want to hear from you! How do you keep yourself and your neighborhood safe?

Now that the city has begun its new refuse and recycling program, Single Stream Collection, residents no longer need the yellow or green plastic recycling containers. In an effort to reuse the bins, the city is challenging you to come up with a creative, innovative new use for your own bin. 

Your idea can be posted to this site and pictures of the new use can be emailed to The pictures will also be posted to this site and the city's social media sites. 

More information on the Single Stream Collection Program is available at

The city continuously looks to improve infrastructure to aid in safe transportation routes for bicyclists and pedestrians. Throughout the month of September, city staff and volunteers will be conducting the annual bicycle and pedestrian count. These counts help measure changes in the number of people biking and walking and to also determine whether improvements are needed or should be prioritized at the count sites. For more information about the count, visit

Roadway improvements are being made to the bridge over Blacks Run on Pleasant Valley Road. The bridge will be replaced and the bridge approaches in each direction will be rebuilt. 

In order to reconstruct the bridge, a section of the roadway will be closed to through traffic for the duration of construction and traffic will be routed through a detour. 

The preliminary project plans, detour plans, environmental documents and project information is available by visiting

Comments can be submitted by 5 p.m. on October 28. 

On Friday, November 13 from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. members of the community will join together to learn about the importance of biking and walking in our local economy. This Harrisonburg and Rockingham County Bike-Walk Summit will also address creating a livable community that attracts and retains businesses and residents, while promoting the community's walking and biking assets. 

More information on the summit:

City Council is considering changes to Chapter 15 of the city's code relating to animal welfare, specifically rules regarding tethering of dogs. Staff believes this ordinance can help educate pet owners as to what is good for their animals in order to appropriately regulate their own tethering practices. Council can consider broadening the scope of the ordinance to apply to all companion animals (cats, pot belly pigs, etc.). 

A second matter to consider is the duration of tethering. Dogs tied up outside for long periods of time can develop aggressive behaviors. Therefore, staff recommends the tethering duration not to exceed 60 continuous minutes more than four times in a 24-hour period. Leaving a dog outside and alone for more than 60 minutes is what would violate this ordinance. 

Council may also wish to consider limiting the time of day that a dog may be tethered. Some jurisdictions prohibit the tethering of dogs after 10:00 p.m. and before 6:00 a.m. This would help the complaints about dogs barking at night.

Current city ordinances in Chapter 15 Section 2 provide for the condition of the premises where animals are kept and define cruelty to animals in relation to food, drink, sheltering, and emergency veterinary attention. The proposed changes define how a dog can be tethered, adequate space, and duration of time. 

A public hearing on this topic will be held at the City Council meeting on Tuesday, January 26. 

Current ordinance

Discussion: Chicken Ordinance

In 2009, an ordinance was created to set parameters for those residents who met the requirements to have backyard chickens and other domestic birds. 

Most recently, City Council has requested a review of this ordinance to evaluate its effectiveness and determine if any changes need to be made. 

In moving the process forward, Planning Commission is now looking to collect input from the public. 

Current Ordinance - Section 15-2-24

At the request of the Virginia Department of Health, the city's Department of Public Utilities is in the process of making several modifications to the Design and Construction Standards Manual (DCSM). 

In making these changes, the city is reaching out to the community, especially members of the building and development community for their input on the revisions. 

What do you think? What questions do you have?

Be sure to provide your ideas, comments, or questions on the proposed changes. 

To review all proposed changes, visit

Let your voice be heard! The city of Harrisonburg and the Harrisonburg Rockingham Housing Authority are putting together a document to assess fair housing issues and goals for the city. 

Members of the community are encouraged to review the draft of the 2016 Assessment of Fair Housing and provide written comments. 

Comments will be accepted through this site, mailed to the City Manager's office at 409 S. Main Street Harrisonburg, VA 22801, emailed to or by phone at 540-432-8826. 

The city is in the process of updating the bicycle and pedestrian plan and invites the public to provide comments and ideas. 

As the city strives to be inclusive of all transportation modes, this plan provides a vision and framework for developing an interconnected bicycle and pedestrain network throughout the community. This network can be made through improvements to infrastructure, educational outreach, and public programs. 

The current plan was adopted in 2010. 

What ideas do you have as the city updates the bicycle and pedestrian plan?

To view the plan visit

The city's Planning Commission appointed 48 community members to serve on four advisory committees to help guide the update of the comprehensive plan. Members of the public are invited to attend the advisory committees; however, there will not be time for public comments at the meetings. Comments can be posted on this site or through comment cards at the meetings. 

The advisory committees are: land use and transportation; education and culture; community facilities; and economic development. 

To view the comprehensive plan or to learn more about the committees and its members, visit

The city of Harrisonburg hosted a presentation and discussion for members of the community to review the city's urban tree canopy management initiatives. Information was presented on current tree canopy coverage and members of the public are now invited to share ideas for improving the city's stormwater management efforts through tree canopy enhancement, protection, and restoration. Members of the community are encouraged to provide input on specific locations in the city that need more tree canopy and for tree-related practices and programs that are not currently in place. 

Additional information can be found at

The city of Harrisonburg received an unsolicited proposal through the Public-Private Education Facilities and Infrastructure Act (PPEA). This proposal was received in December 2016 from Momentum Earthworks and is to construct a section of the Northend Greenway Trail and also perform stream restoration work along Blacks Run. After soliciting for competing proposals, the city received no additional proposals. City staff has negotiated a draft interim agreement with Momentum Earthworks that is available for review and public comment for the next 30 days, or until July 24. Both the original proposal and the draft interim agreement can be found at

In an effort to continue to improve the stormwater improvement plan, comments are being accepted on the recommended projects. These projects are ranked from the hightest to lowest priority. 

Additional information about the stormwater improvement plan can be found at

Please provide the following information for each topic (new BMP, stream restoration, and BMP retrofit):

To what extent do you agree with this list of the top five projects based on your rankings?

What would you change about this list?


The Comprehensive Plan presents a vision of Harrisonburg’s future. It identifies steps to move toward that vision by providing information about current conditions, long-term goals and objectives, and recommended implementation strategies. As described in the Code of Virginia, comprehensive plans are general in nature. Harrisonburg's Plan addresses a wide range of issues including but not limited to: land use, housing, education, transportation, recreation, the preservation of historic and natural resources, and economic development. The plan serves as a long-term guide for the community, and it helps City and community leaders with setting policies and decision-making. 

The draft chapters and more information about the workshops are available at

Community members are asked to review the draft chapters and provide comments on chapter background and goal, objective, and strategy statements associated with each chapter.  

The Planning and Community Development Department presented recommended ammendments to the City Code Section 16-6-58, commonly referred to the "tall grass and weeds ordinance," at the March 13, 2018 City Council meeting. Members of the public are invited to review the related documents and provide feedback on the recommended changes. A public hearing for this matter will also be held at the regularly scheduled City Council meeting on Tuesday, March 27. 

All materials can be read at

With the annual Blacks Run and Downtown CleanUp Day just around the corner (April 14), the city wanted to hear from the community on other clean up efforts. What do you do around your own home, neighborhood, or throughout the community to help reduce litter and pollutants from entering our waterways? Do you have any tips or tricks for your neighbors to help do the same? Be sure to answer the topic question below to share your ideas!

More information: or visit Harrisonburg Stormwater on Facebook!

Discussion: Short Term Rentals

During the Virginia General Assembly's 2017 legislative session, SB 1578 authorized localities to adopt ordinances requiring the registration of persons offering properties for short term rental. The Planning and Community Development Department created draft ordinance amendments related to short term rental of properties, which include properties rented through online services such as Airbnb and VRBO. 

Members of the public are invited to review the draft zoning ordinance amendments and provide comments. A public hearing will also be held at Planning Commission on Wednesday, April 11 at 7:00 p.m. in City Council Chambers. 

All documents pertaining to this subject can be found at

Discussion: Ideas for Parks

The city of Harrisonburg's Parks and Recreation Department will soon be adding a splash pad to Westover Pool. With warmer weather, and park season here, the department wants to hear from the community on other ideas for city parks. Tell us what you think about the splash pad and something else you would like to see in the parks!

The federally funded Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) grant provided funding toward the cost of the splash pad.