When the new City Hall is built, what should happen to the Municipal Building? It's one of the most important historic buildings in town and is centrally located. How could it become a focus for the community? We need public spaces for events downtown. Some have suggested a "Harrisonburg Museum." A public private partnership? Heritage tourism? How could we create a place that honors our past and helps to shape our future?
Particularly the 600 block of Myrtle St. and on Sterling Street for a safe route to school for children
The City is currently planning the construction of a multi-million dollar middle school to accommodate the growing number of student in our school system. I believe that the City should take a long-term view of the cost and usefulness of this building, and as such should strive to make it LEED certified (or equivalent) and a Net Zero Energy Building, meaning that it produces as much energy each year (on average) as it uses. Doing so would decrease the long-term costs to taxpayers, insulate the City from future increases in energy prices, promote sustainability, and enhance our children's educational experiences by creating a modern, forwarding looking building that incorporates scientifically and technologically sound building practices. Depending on the financing mechanism chosen, a LEED/Net Zero building need cost very little or no more initially than a conventional building, though I would encourage the City to focus more on long-term costs than simply the bottom dollar up front. If we as taxpayers have to invest a few extra dollars now in order to save many more dollars for years (decades) to come, isn't that the best choice?
The architects have been selected, but the school design has not yet been set. The firm chosen has experience in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and LEED, including with K-12 schools. Please join me in asking our School Board, City Council, and other city leaders to make the new middle school LEED/Net Zero. It is the best choice for our city, our children, and our future prosperity.
For more thoughts about why a Net Zero middle school would be a good idea, see this blog entry by a local architect with expertise in this area: http://harrisonburgarchitect.wordpress.com/2013/11/06/why-build-a-zeb-middle-school-in-harrisonburg/
The new website you've introduced to provide an open forum for ideas/opinions is probably a welcome idea. May I suggest you take it a step further and publish, in the DNR, a column you might call "The Vent". The Atlanta Journal Constitution publishes such a column once a week and it is quite popular. Readers send in short sentences containing their thoughts, both pro/con, about issues they're concerned about, or are mad about, or are happy about. Have a look: The Vent | Metro | ajc.com www.ajc.com/vent/ Everyone likes to be noticed (heard)...giving readers an insight into what other readers are thinking. Thanks, Barbara Goode
It seems to be helping this town and the video better describes it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sf-O5o4aqcs
Drinking water: City's National Forest reservoir water is probably some of the most healthy/cleanest in Va.; a key treasure. Concerns: the Oct. 29 City Council work meeting, there were many signs that City should complete a "full water study": 1-rate structure (since~1988?) actually *discourages conservation; 2-staff seemed unsure what City's "Musts & Wants" were to future; 3-most USA systems have or now plan pro-active, practical ways to drive down water average + peak demands plus ways to drive down their high *fixed costs (automation, upgrades, billing every 2 months); but, none were mentioned; 4-City should try hard to *avoid the ~$25 Million cost (in~10 years?) to install a big water pipe thru County to Shenandoah River (S. Fork; McGaheysville) +costly treatment equipment (Shen. water has lots of agr. runoff, bacteria, viruses, etc.;); 5- customers get triple benefits- since each gallon conserved also lowers costly sewer charges, which are rising fast; 6- +etc. benefits- TBD.
Once a year thousands of Harrisonburgonians make a small donation to the BIG ONE FUND, and a selected organization receives the one time only donation. This is a way for innovative ideas to get off the ground with start-up funds, or a value-added program to get off the ground in an established organization. 2000 donations of $10 is $20,000! A diverse committee of Hburg resident volunteers would select the project from submissions. In fact, we could limit the donation to $10 so that the goal becomes involving as many community members as possible in the effort. A non-profit could facilitate the work, while the City, School Board, and local businesses and United Way could promote the effort among employees. Criteria might include: How big an impact will this new program or organization have on our community (or those in need, if the program is international)? How many people would benefit? Does it contribute to longterm sustainable development? Is it an innovative solution to a real problem?
I'd love to see more sidewalks, bike paths, etc. along our roads. I find myself walking on or beside busy roads, Country Club for example, with no sidewalk. It seems more and more cities are trending towards non-vehicular access and infrastructure. I'd be proud to see Harrisonburg lead the way in the valley.
I have been to other c ities where food trucks are very popular. Ours are tucked away in obscure places. Why not have a space where they can be front and center? I do recognize they might be in places now that serve their clients better- maybe I would just like to be inviting to more of them!