From outside, the dark red bricks and scarlet facade of what used to be Red Front Supermarket are unchanged, and the sign bearing the name of the grocery store, which closed last spring, still looms over Chicago Avenue. Inside, though, is a completely different sight than what anyone who had shopped at Red Front for more than 60 years would recognize. In the entrance, bags of donated clothes are piled where the teddy bear claw machine and free newspaper racks stood. The checkout counters have been replaced with shelves stocked with hygiene items and other essentials, while 45 beds extend across what once were grocery aisles.
The candidates campaigning for the three city council seats up for election on Nov. 3 participated in a virtual forum Wednesday night – the second such event this month involving all five candidates. Two incumbents, Mayor Deanna Reed (D) and George Hirschmann (I), and three first-time candidates, Democrats Laura Dent and Charles Hendricks, plus Republican Kathleen Kelley, largely agreed on topics ranging from how to help low-income residents in Harrisonburg to transportation priorities.
In latest round of COVID-19 business, council outlines CARES Act money and gets briefings on JMU and EMU
The Harrisonburg City Council on Tuesday took up several tactics to mitigate the effects of the pandemic: a plan for how to distribute more than $3 million more in federal CARES Act funding, an emergency ordinance to allow the Open Doors shelter to open October 1, as well as protocols to slow the virus’ transmission among college students.
Alena Pardi and her husband, Tim, thought they had found a house in Virginia and could move from Tennessee. But when they arrived in the Valley, they found they had been scammed, and the “seller” had run off with their first rent payment — which amounted to much of the money they had. Stranded, they slept in their car in Walmart’s parking lot. Then the coronavirus hit.
Democratic council candidates carve out slight differences over approaches toward housing, JMU and the golf course’s fate
The candidates seeking the Democratic nominations for this fall’s city council election signaled a general agreement on big-picture issues, such as supporting education and working to encourage affordable housing, although they each sought to differentiate themselves over how they’d prioritize certain approaches.
Community resources in Harrisonburg are under more pressure than ever to adapt to new conditions in wake of COVID-19 and provide services to those who may not have needed them before — or now need them in more intensive ways.From food banks to homeless shelters to direct fundraising efforts, The Citizen has compiled a list of various organizations and businesses in Harrisonburg in need of extra support.
COVID-19 drove the discussions during Tuesday evening’s Harrisonburg City Council meeting, as the council confirmed a local state of emergency and addressed the public’s questions about how the city could help those experiencing homelessness during this pandemic.
And so it begins. Hopes for and speculation about the future abound, as does list-making for a fresh year. As we set off for the next 12 months, get ready for plenty of “20/20 vision” references. In that spirit, here are 20 questions (in no particular order) for 2020 that address issues that will likely shape Harrisonburg for the next decade and beyond.