Creating Our Town
Last Discussion in JMuse Forum to focus on the future
By Courtney Herb ('15)
Residence on the corner of East Elizabeth and Federal Streets, 1962. (Photograph courtesy of Harrisonburg Redevelopment and Housing Authority)
"Creating Our Town," the last discussion in JMuse Cafe's "Remembering Place" community conversation series, will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 30 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the Memorial Hall Forum.
About JMuse Cafe
Established by James Madison University Libraries in fall 2011, JMuse Cafe is an informal and lively forum for students, faculty, staff and the Harrisonburg community to come together and explore topics of public interest.
Sponsored by a partnership of civic and educational groups, JMuse's "Remembering Place" is a series of discussions and events focusing on helping citizens consider how to honor Harrisonburg's past, while helping to shape its present and future.
"Creating Our Town," the final discussion in the series, follows the success and high turnout of both the "Remembering Newtown" and "Remembering Downtown" community conversations. These two forums focused on the value of honoring and learning from elements of Harrisonburg's past. The first, "Remembering Newtown," acknowledged an area that, until the 1960s, served as the heart of the city's African-American community. The second discussion, "Remembering Downtown," shifted conversation toward remembrance of famous downtown landmarks such as the Virginia Theater, Kavanaugh Hotel, and the Purcell Home.
Looking Toward the Future
Unlike its predecessors, the final conversation, "Creating Our Town," will shift its focus to the future, bringing city officials and citizens together to discuss Harrisonburg planning and development. After an initial presentation, participants will break into small discussion groups that will focus on four main areas of concern; support and development of Harrisonburg's Northeast Neighborhood, issues of transportation and parking, adaptive re-use and programming of the historic Municipal Building, and creating processes to both safeguard and improve the community.
Rather than a panelist conversation, this forum will include local city officials and community organizers available as "resident experts" for the small group discussions. Experts will include Suzi Carter of the Food Co-Op Initiative, Thanh Dang of the City of Harrisonburg, Public Works, Kai Degner of the Harrisonburg City Council, and Kia Johnson of James Madison University, among others.
Using these experts' particular skills, knowledge base, or understanding of a particular demographic group, participants will work to develop solutions and next steps for particular projects they wish to bring about. Insight provided by experts can then help groups test how well their developing concepts would work in reality. With insight about the city's past guiding the way, coordinators hope this final forum will be the start to a bright and collaborative look ahead for Harrisonburg.
Poetry and Place
The fall events will culminate in "Poetry and Place," an evening of poetry and discussion about place, how we define it and how it defines us. Community members, students and faculty will come together and share their work. This final event will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 13, at Rose Library.
Learn more at JMuse Cafe.