City and school division bank on federal funds to restart high school project, make up for revenue decline
Money that Congress approved last month to help local communities in the wake of the pandemic could help restart construction on the new Harrisonburg high school soon and is expected to fill revenue holes in the city’s budget. Money from the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act, which President Joe Biden signed into law in March, could reach Harrisonburg in the coming weeks in time to resume building the high school even before the city approves its budget for the coming year, said Harrisonburg City Public Schools Superintendent Michael Richards.
After relying on outdoor spaces and reduced seating to stay open during the pandemic, many local restaurants and bars didn’t hibernate during the winter, but opted to innovate.
As the Rockingham County supervisors prepare to hear Middle River Regional Jail’s pitch for a $40 million expansion, the supervisors signaled that they’ll be a more receptive audience than some of the other local government bodies that fund the jail.
Preschoolers through 2nd grade students — as well as 6th graders — could be back in classrooms as soon as March 22, as the Harrisonburg School Board voted unanimously in Tuesday’s meeting to approve a revised reopening plan.
Despite all the uncertainty — economic and otherwise — that the pandemic created over the last year, some Harrisonburg-area residents chose to follow their dreams and turn their passions into businesses. While launching a new business is always a learning experience, even for seasoned entrepreneurs, doing so amid these conditions have inspired a unique set of lessons learned.
Nearly 11 months in, here’s how local businesses have survived the pandemic and what they’ve learned
When the pandemic hit the United States last March and government orders closed down many of them temporarily, most local business owners were trapped in a kind of economic limbo. To survive, some businesses shifted their business models. Others pursued government loans to keep employees on the payroll. But, above all, many local Harrisonburg businesses learned they could count on the community’s support.
After the Harrisonburg City Council re-elected them to their positions for another two years on Monday, Mayor Deanna Reed and Vice-mayor Sal Romero outlined in interviews with The Citizen their shared priorities for the coming months, including recovering economically from the pandemic, encouraging affordable housing and building the second high school.