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Karl Stauber and the Danville Regional Foundation have garnered statewide recognition for their contributions to the redevelopment of the River District.
The Virginia Downtown Development Association (VDDA) on Wednesday named Stauber, president and chief executive of the Danville Regional Foundation, as the winner of the John Marlles Commitment Award.
“Without Karl’s leadership and the support from the Danville Regional Foundation, a lot of the transformation taking place in this district would not be happening,” said Corrie Teague, project manager for the Danville Office of Economic Development. “He and his board have challenged the community to rethink what’s possible in an area that is truly becoming the centerpiece of our great city. We cannot thank Karl and the foundation enough for their support.”
Founded in 1982, VDDA is an independent association that focuses on the importance of Virginia's downtowns. Each year, it recognizes excellence in downtown revitalization.
The association points out that redevelopment and revitalization do not happen without the commitment of dedicated individuals. Nominees for the John Marlles Commitment Award must demonstrate a philosophical commitment to these efforts as evidenced by their active involvement in some facet of a community's redevelopment activities.
In nominating Stauber, the City of Danville noted that the Danville Regional Foundation provided the financial support necessary for visits by elected officials, staff members of local governments, and business leaders in order for them to witness how other communities had regained prosperity in their city centers.
“Very few people know this, but Karl was the person who coined the name ‘River District’ for our downtown and tobacco warehouse districts,” Teague said. “He believed that Danville should promote its river running through the middle of the city.”
The foundation also provided the money for the demolition of the former Downtowner Motor Inn, a downtown landmark that had become prominent only for its blighted condition.
More recently, Stauber and the foundation have undertaken a proactive effort to promote entrepreneurship in the River District through The Launch Place, which provides incentives for start-up businesses that are largely advanced technology based. This program is serving as an active incubator for business development in the community, and the model is taken from other cities such as Boise, Idaho, that have experienced substantial revitalization from entrepreneurial activities.
The association presented the award during its annual conference, which this year was held in Roanoke.