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How recent resident stakeholder involvement has changed the game.

Beautify VaHi got started in July 2018, when one VaHi resident/Architect partnered with one Californian/VaHi small business owner. Together, we had big hopes to unite the corridor and enhance the VaHi business district. Looking to build up our community, we focused most of our time on beautification and events. Beautify VaHi hosted bi-annual sidewalk plantings, wine walks, and art markets. We also created VaHi awareness and marketing with our Free Parking campaign and our Instagram (@visitvahi). It was so fun engaging with our community along the way. Everything always seemed to serendipitously happen to keep our mission alive and our time well spent. 

Fast forward to July 2020, Beautify VaHi had encountered its own struggles. Like many others, we needed help. That’s when Gail Silverstein, of Urban Cottage Inc., gave our contact to VaHi residents Lindsay and Tyler Wheeler. As Virginia-Highland property owners, and Tyler a native Atlantan, they were both a refreshing jolt to our mission. 

Thinking big picture and investing in people and causes is what they do best. They have helped Beautify VaHi mobilize and mature. Then, VaHi resident Dora Marquez DM’d us to join the movement. A week later fellow VaHi residents Christina Carrick and Melissa Shaughnessy joined the team. 

So far, we’ve been able to formalize a new board, rebrand with a new name and website to come, started reaching out to all stakeholders (landlords, merchants, and residents/visitors) and to prospective businesses. 

This is just the beginning, and it is so exciting to be a part of. Keep an eye out for Virginia-Highland District — big things to come!

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