Northend Greenway

Good for you, Good for the 'Burg!

The economic impact of greenways

Posted by Northend Greenway on December 28, 2012

Trails and greenways have a well-established record of positively influencing community and economic development. For example:

  • Studies in Colorado and Ohio found that properties adjacent to a local greenway and trail were valued 22 percent and 12 percent, respectively, higher than properties farther away from those trails.
  • Trails in downtown Winter Garden, Fla., and Dunedin, Fla., are credited with helping drive up occupancy rates and revitalize the downtown areas.
  • A study of businesses along the Missouri River State Trail found that 20 percent of those surveyed cited the trail as influencing their decision to locate near to it.

A 2007 economic impact study for the proposed Carolina Thread Trail in Charlotte, NC studied positive impacts from property tax revenues, recreational value, and tourism activity, and it concluded that each $1 spent on trail development will produce an additional $10 in economic impact.

In addition to its economic benefits, there are other reasons to build the Greenway. It will be a powerful way to differentiate Harrisonburg and a great amenity that will provide residents, downtown workers and visitors new opportunities for transportation, exercise, and recreation. Given the experience of other communities with trails and greenways, it seems likely that the Northend Greenway will increase property values, be a draw for businesses and residents to downtown Harrisonburg and its surrounding areas, and potentially boost retail sales.

For more on the economic impact of trails:

Planning the Northend Greenway

The Northend Greenway is a planned 2.5 mile walking and biking path that will connect north Harrisonburg with downtown, and will serve as a key economic development tool for our community.  It will enhance the urban landscape with a green space that will promote fitness, encourage alternative transportation, and provide connectedness and well-being for our residents and visitors in an aesthetically pleasing environment. In addition, with the connections to the other planned greenway systems in the city and the county, the Northend path will serve as the prototype to soon connect residents from all parts of the community and beyond.

While the Greenway began as a community initiative, the engineering, implementation, and fundraising for the Northend Greenway has grown to become a public private partnership between the City of Harrisonburg and New Community Project, and is led by a Steering Committee that includes New Community Project staff, Public Works, Parks and Recreation, and two local engineers. They are assisted by a number of sub-committees that include the Landowner Relations, Landscape Design, Education/Communications, Finance, and Fundraising.

The Northend Greenway is a priority project for the City of Harrisonburg for many reasons, including the transportation, health, and economic development impacts we expect it will have on the community.

Bicycling means business all over America. We expect it will be the same for Harrisonburg. Click the graphic to read up on success stories. Source: League of American Bicyclists

For details about the planning, design, and construction of the Northend Greenway, you can review our website, sign up to receive email updates on our homepage, or contact the Greenway’s Program Director, Suzi Carter, at

[Sources: Downtown Greenway of Greensboro, NC; Rails-to-Trails Conversancy; League of American Bicyclists]

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