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Downtown Improvement Grant Extends Downtown Streetscape

New, branded banners made possible by a Virginia Main Street Downtown Improvement Grant have been installed in the Churchville Avenue Streetscape.  The banners were added to enhance the recent improvements made in that area and to increase the connectivity between the Central Avenue business cluster and the Historic Downtown District. 

The Staunton Downtown Development Association was awarded the Main Street Improvement Grant valued at $2,500 in June 2010.  It funded the extension of Downtown Service District banners to the Churchville Avenue streetscape, with several locations on North Augusta and Lewis Streets and Central Avenue. 

Virginia Main Street Downtown Improvement Grants of up to $2,500 per designated community were made available for special, one-time projects. The grant program offered communities the ability to complete a Main Street-related project for which financial resources are not otherwise available. Grant criteria included measurable impact or deliverables, committee or volunteer project leadership/involvement, leveraging of other fund sources, local government involvement/support and short duration of project. 

The SDDA Design Committee had already budgeted for new, branded street banners to replace existing banners on Beverley and Frederick Streets.  The grant dollars facilitated the purchase of additional banners and brackets for the upgraded streetscape design at the north end of the District. The Churchville Avenue project included new public utilities and brick sidewalk installation, grading and paving operations, storm drainage construction, traffic signal installation and new lighting fixtures.  The improvements are valued at $2,688,566. 

The Staunton City Government utilized the 2004 Streetscape Plan, compiled by the SDDA Design Committee, as a reference for designing the streetscape improvements that border the Downtown Service District (DSD) along Churchville Avenue and North Augusta Street.  The project creates an attractive gateway into Downtown and connects the DSD with Gypsy Hill Park and Gypsy Hill Place, a development project in the Old Lee High School which contains apartments, the Staunton Senior Center and the ShenanArts Community Theater offices and performance space. 

“The additional funding extended the downtown banner project to the Churchville Avenue corridor and the adjoining streets, leveraging the existing streetscape investment and increasing the engagement of merchants and property owners,” said Julie Markowitz, Executive Director of the SDDA. “Installing new, colorful banners in those areas shows SDDA support for businesses and property owners in that part of the District.”