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Staunton Downtown Development Association

Mission: The Staunton Downtown Development Association’s (SDDA) mission is to enhance downtown Staunton’s economic environment as a center of commerce while maintaining the character and integrity if the City’s central Business district as an attractive place to live, work and play.

Community Need: The proposed design project, Bright Lights on Beverley, is a lighting upgrade on Beverley Street and surrounding streets inspired by the SDDA Community Survey results, requesting a more vibrant nightlife, stores with later hours and after hours activities that extend beyond 10:00 or 11:00 p.m.  Additionally, improved light fixtures will create a safer environment by increasing light levels by 40%, reducing Staunton’s carbon footprint and energy costs by 20%.

Primary Activities: As a Virginia Main Street program, the SDDA’s programming addresses the four-point approach, focusing on economic development (business recruitment and retention), design (streetscape improvements and maintenance), promotions (events and advertising) and organization (housekeeping, fundraising and volunteers). Some examples include BRIGHT Rewired business plan competition, StauntoNites Grant Competition, banners and flower baskets, Sparkles and Sweets, the Christmas Parade  and the Downtown Gift Card, the SDDA Ambassador Program and Downtown Lowdown.

Constituents Served: SDDA’s primary stakeholders consist of property owners and businesses located in the Downtown Service District (DSD).  Currently there are over 250 members.  They also serve and provide resources for outside DSD businesses, students, residents and non-profits in and around the Downtown area, the Staunton community and visitors.

Program Details: SDDA’s goal is to provide an atmosphere where businesses will want to stay open past 5:00 p.m. because street traffic will support it.  They also want to keep Downtown safe and inviting for nighttime activity development, community residents and visiting guests. Additionally, SDDA supports healthy and green community efforts by reducing the carbon footprint, satisfying the Dark Sky Initiative and keeping the walks safe from trip hazards.

A portion of the Bright Lights project was completed in November of 2017 where only 22 fixtures on Beverley Street were upgraded.  In 2017, the SDDA received a $5,000 CFBR challenge grant and raised $8,500 to complete this portion.  However, there are 14 lights left on the connecting side streets, Central Avenue, Augusta Street, New Street, and Market Street, to complete the project at a cost of $11,500.  The 14 remaining fixtures on the connecting side streets will be retrofit with caps and the bulbs will be replaced with 1465-watt LED bulbs which direct 10,926 lumens light downward to the street and walkways instead off upwards to the buildings, as originally designed.  The City of Staunton Public Works will donate the services required to install the fixtures. Based on the impact of a similar project completed in the Wharf area in 2012, more efficient lighting can make a marked difference in business development and retention and increase street traffic and evening business activity by 75%.  So far, the SDDA has a commitment of $1,500 from the SDDA Board and $500 from merchants.

Amount Requested: $5,000

Operating Budget: $230,165

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