The following are past news releases. For questions or more information:
Contact: Liz Sherrer-Lewis
Luray Downtown Initiative
February 7, 2011
Program Director Named
Luray, VA- Luray Downtown Initiative (LDI) has hired a new Program Director. Liz Sherrer-Lewis accepted the position from LDI Board Members last Thursday night, February 3rd. “I appreciate the Board’s confidence in my abilities to lead the organization,” states Lewis.
The combination of Liz Lewis’s experience and understanding of downtown made her the best fit for the job. “She is very qualified for the position. Liz has an impressive background filled with the paid and volunteer experience we need as a non-profit organization,” agrees Monte Layman and Nancy Lee Shifflett, LDI Board and Selection Committee members. “We are delighted she accepted the position and look forward to the energy and excitement she has for the community,” adds Dave Scadden, LDI Vice-President.
Ms. Lewis relocated to Luray, Virginia nearly 8-years ago from the West. She has been employed in the destination tourism industry for most of her career, serving as Marketing and Sales Director for hospitality companies in Park City, Utah. Since moving to Virginia, she has served as Executive Director for the Shenandoah Valley Travel Association until leaving her job to be a stay-at-home mom. For the past 4 years, she has been employed as a freelance contractor for The Mimslyn Inn; developing marketing collateral, copy and design for the inn since their extensive renovation. Liz was also instrumental in getting Downtown Luray designated as an Arts and Cultural District. She has formed the Page Valley Arts Council, has volunteered on many community projects and serves on several local committees to include Luray-Page Chamber’s Tourism Council, and LDI’s Economic Restructuring Committee. She has also been a LDI Board Member for the past several years.
LDI’s focus and Liz’s priorities this year will be economic development, merchant and business support, fundraising, and partnerships. Downtown Luray’s flagship event, the Festival of Spring, will occupy many of her months ahead. This event exposes the community to nearly 5,000 people each year, and it continues to grow in popularity. The Program Director is a part-time position, volunteers to assist in this event as well as serve on LDI’s several committees are needed. “I want and invite the community to be involved in our organization. The ideas and excitement created when speaking with and working with others who are passionate about what they are doing is so very rewarding!” states Liz.
Be a volunteer and “Give Back” to your community. LDI encourages those interested in downtown revitalization, to contact the organization and be part of downtown Luray’s future. Stay in the “Downtown” loop by attending a LDI Merchant/Business Meeting held on the last Tuesday of every month, 8:30am in Town of Luray’s Council Chambers.
Luray Downtown Initiative- Luray, Virginia, 540-743-7700, www.luraydowntown.com.
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November 15, 2010
The Strength of Downtown Luray
Luray, VA- Luray Downtown Initiative (LDI) has been a permanent fixture in the community since 2004. The improvements made downtown over this time have been substantial. From the greenway and its pockets parks, to the wayfinding signs and gateway entrances; from facade renovations to a new visitors center. Many areas downtown have been retouched and revitalized. Entities like Luray Tree and Beautification, Town of Luray, local businesses, and determined volunteers have changed our downtown for the better.
Luray Downtown Initiative was organized by a progressive group of volunteers and businesses owners who understood the downtown vision. They believed the affiliation and promotion of a Virginia Main Street Community, a recognized National Main Street Community by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, would be in the best interest of downtown Luray. LDI secured a VA Main Street Community designation in 2004 and continues to operate under its principals and guidelines. In 2009, Downtown Luray was also designated an Arts and Cultural District with the help of LDI and a volunteer organization known as the Page Valley Arts Council.
Many have contributed to the strength of downtown. A strength that has created new businesses and sustained existing ones. A strength that continues to mobilize a community and stimulate a tourism economy. LDI is the advocate for downtown; tasked with tenant assistance, public relations, marketing, event coordination, community support, and program administration of the “Main Street Approach” to revitalization. Under this approach four points are identified and organized by committee staffed volunteers. Along with the program director, these committees shape the environment downtown. Committees include Design, Economic Restructuring, Promotions, and Organization. Volunteers are needed to fill positions on these committees, allowing LDI to continue its mission established back in 2004 “ . . . to restore the economic base, historical flavor, beauty and vitality of our downtown district through partnering with our residents, government and business groups.”
Like the downtown environment, the focus of LDI also continues grow and change. The year 2011 promises be one of transformation, where purpose and objectives are better targeted to meet current main street demands. LDI’s Board, the organizations advisory body, has prepared an updated plan that will lead LDI in to the next several years, while revisiting the 2004 mission statement. A new program director will be appointed once qualifications are matched to the board’s plan and intensions.
Be a volunteer and “Give Back” to your community. LDI encourages those interested in downtown revitalization, to contact the organization and be part of downtown Luray’s future. Those willing to serve on a committee or would like to be notified when the Program Director position is available, please call or email the office. Stay in the “Downtown” loop by attending a LDI Merchant/Business Meeting held on the second Monday of every month, 8:30am in Town of Luray’s Council Chambers.
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March 17, 2009
Luray Downtown Initiative receives Virginia Main Street Milestone Awards
Richmond, VA – On Friday, March 20, Luray Downtown Initiative and the Town of Luray was presented with a Virginia Main Street Milestone Achievement Award for $10 million in private investment and 10,000 volunteer hours invested contributed toward downtown revitalization.
The award was presented at the annual Virginia Main Street Milestone Achievement Awards ceremony, this year held at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, Va.
The Honorable Patrick O. Gottschalk, Secretary of Commerce and Trade for the Commonwealth of Virginia, addressed the attendees of the luncheon, which acknowledged the achievements of Main Street volunteers, local leaders, businesses, local governments and private investors.
“Through the revitalization of Virginia’s downtowns, jobs are created, and the quality of life for those in the community is enhanced,” said Gottschalk.
Other speakers at the event included Bob Adams, a respected community revitalization practitioner and president of HDAdvisors. Speaking on the importance of positioning now for the economic recovery, Adams said, “A recessionary period is a good time for self-assessment, planning, and collaboration. Towns should participate as part of a regional strategy and organizations should find ways to share marketing and operations costs.”
Bill Shelton, Director of the Department of Housing and Community Development took part in the awards presentation and praised the collaborative energy demonstrated by communities that effectively carry out Virginia’s Main Street programs.
“Luray Downtown Initiative was established in July 2004. I am in awe of the achievements and accomplishments that we have made in such a short time.” Catherine Stewart, ED.
Currently there are 21 designated Virginia Main Street communities: Abingdon, Altavista, Bedford, Blackstone, Berryville, Culpeper, Franklin, Harrisonburg, Luray, Lynchburg, Manassas, Marion, Martinsville, Orange, Radford, Rocky Mount, South Boston, Staunton, Warrenton, Waynesboro, and Winchester
The Virginia Main Street program, managed by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, provides assistance and training to help communities increase the economic vitality of their downtown commercial districts. Virginia Main Street uses the National Main Street model to help communities revitalize their downtowns by focusing on their unique heritage and attributes. The program helps communities implement a comprehensive revitalization strategy that creates economic growth and pride in downtowns.For more information about the Virginia Main Street program, call (804) 371-7030 or visit their Web page at: www.dhcd.virginia.gov/MainStreet.
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LDI Completes Wayfinding Signs
The Luray Downtown Initiative is pleased to announce the completion of wayfinding signs throughout the Town of Luray. Stonework around Luray’s final three “gateway,” or welcoming signs was finished this past Thursday. Two of the gateway signs are located on Route 340 North and South, and another is located at Luray Caverns.
All of the signs were designed and made by Graphic Services of Manassas, which is owned by Wes Porter of Rileyville. The cost for the signs was covered by the Town’s Community Development Block Grant to provide directions throughout the downtown. LDI Executive Director Catherine Stewart and Assistant Town Manager Bryan Chrisman collaborated with Graphic Services and the Virginia Department of Transportation to procure the sign sites. They completed this project in one-fifth of the time estimated by CDBG architects. “We are so excited and thrilled with the signs. They were a major goal of our downtown revitalization and the Board is pleased with the speed and quality that Wes and Graphic Services delivered,” said LDI President David Slye.
The Town of Luray assigned LDI the wayfinding signage task. Porter’s firm, Graphic Services was an obvious choice to bid on the sign work. He has owned the Manassas sign firm, Graphic Services for 30 years. Porter is also a well-known local artist and downtown merchant. He owns the Arts and Artisans Fine Art Gallery in downtown Luray as well as the Artisan’s Grill on the corner of Main & Broad Streets beside his gallery.
When Porter decided to bid on the Luray job, he assigned the design task to his wife, Eileen Brennan-Porter, a Vice-President at Graphic Services who oversees designs for their upscale accounts. She worked with artist Gary Godby to “tweak” the Luray signs and give them a nineteenth century, yet finished look. Account Executive Colin Braeme ironed out any difficulties and oversaw the installation. “Bryan and I were at first overwhelmed by this task, but looking back,
we learned so much and it wouldn’t have been possible without the teamwork and professionalism of Graphic Services,” added Stewart.
Porter said, “It’s been a fun and rewarding experience to see our sign work in our hometown. “Little” (Eileen) and I are grateful for the opportunity the Town of Luray gave us to do the signs. We at Graphic Services – Colin, Little, and our General Manager, Rick Daniels – are impressed by the collegiality and efficiency of everyone who helped us in Luray.”