Local company and volunteers’ elbow grease spruce up key walkway

Left to right: Mike Zook, Aaron Watson, Molly Whitmore and Brad Wroblewski work on sidewalk stencils outside of Finnigan’s Cove Seafood Bar & Grill this week.

By Kyle Kirby, contributor

A pattern of black diamonds grew slowly in the alley outside Finnigan’s Cove Seafood Bar & Grill, thanks to the helping hands of volunteers partnering with Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance this week. 

In addition to the stenciling, planters from Rocktown Urban Wood, a woodworking and lumber company that uses locally-sourced wood, will be filled with young trees and placed in the alleyway on Friday. 

As part of the Renaissance’s beautification initiative, volunteers stenciled the diamonds through the alleyway, which had recently underwent a deep clean. The project was part ofHarrisonburg’s “Day of Caring” Wednesday, which was organized by the local United Way. 

The project is largely funded by proceeds from the Friendly City Fortune raffle over the last few years, said Lauren Huber, Downtown Renaissance’s director of resources. 

The alley connects nearby businesses and the Water Street parking deck, meaning it has high pedestrian traffic. 

It “hasn’t been given the love it’s deserved,”  Huber said. “We wanted to come in and really make it a welcoming space for pedestrians who are out and enjoying downtown.”

Huber also told The Citizen that the soon-to-be-planted trees are going to be in the alley’s planters for about five years and then will be replanted downtown. The planters will be refilled with something new. 

Rocktown Urban Wood will make a screen to hide the trash cans from view, and both the screen and planters will be made from local cedar.

“This is the community I live in,” said Brad Wroblewski, a partner at Urban Wood. “So what better way to get our name out and…help the community that I care about.” 

Working alongside him was Molly Whitmore, a local photographer.

“I was born and raised in the Shenandoah Valley so, any small part I can contribute…I jump right in,” Whitmore said. 

Aaron Watson, another local volunteer, was even more succinct. 

“I work downtown, I live downtown, I like art,” he said, “so we’re doin’ it.” 

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