The Harvest Foundation will partner with the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corp. (EDC) and the City of Martinsville to enhance the walkability and attractiveness of the Uptown Martinsville area with decorative lighting.

“Continued community revitalization is important to the economic growth of our community,” said Sheryl Agee, impact officer and team leader at The Harvest Foundation. “One of the things that make for a vibrant downtown is lighting, and we are proud to be a partner with the EDC and City of Martinsville on this project that will add to the beauty of Uptown Martinsville.”

Harvest provided a $10,000 Pick Up the Pace grant to pilot the lighting program, which will include 19 trees initially – chosen based on size, access to power, and location near currently operating businesses. The City of Martinsville will provide significant support in electricity costs and help with installation.

“Uptown revitalization is a top priority for the tourism office and a focus in our 2023 strategic plan,” said Sarah Hodges, director of tourism and talent development for the EDC. “We are confident this lighting project will add atmosphere to our uptown area and show a local commitment to revitalization to those currently in business and people interested in opening a business in the uptown area.”

Hodges said long-term impact will be measured by tracking new businesses in the area and looking at foot traffic throughout Uptown Martinsville. Surveys will be sent at a later date to uptown businesses to gather data on the lighting project’s impact.

“The decorative lighting planned for the project will help draw attention to the uptown business area and create a more exciting atmosphere for visitors and businesses,” said Leon Towarnicki, city manager for the City of Martinsville. “Ultimately, the desire is to create an environment that is attractive and inviting. Thanks goes to Harvest and the EDC for helping make this happen.”

The Harvest Foundation’s Pick Up the Pace! grants program is a competitive, small grants program designed to engage people and organizations in sparking innovative ideas, collaborations and change in Martinsville and Henry County. These six-month grants for up to $10,000 are available for application year-round. To find out more, visit or call (276) 632-3329.

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