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Danville Mayor Sherman Saunders and Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jessie Barksdale told local business leaders Tuesday that the city and county are sound financially, and the key to moving forward economically is to maintain the partnerships in place.
Their comments came at a “State of the Region” address hosted by the Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research.
“Regional cooperation is necessary to attract the kind of growth and development we need to prosper,” Saunders said. “We should take stock of the things that Danville and Pittsylvania County are doing well regionally in order to grow and prosper.”
Saunders cited partnerships with the Chamber, Regional Industrial Facility Authority, Southern Virginia Regional Alliance, Danville Community College, Institute for Advanced Learning and Research, the Danville Industrial Development Authority and the Danville Regional Foundation.
With these partnerships, Barksdale said,” We have the main ingredients for success.”
The Regional Industrial Development Authority is an organization established by the city and county to operate regional industrial parks, including the Berry Hill Mega Park. “The Regional Industrial Facility Authority fuels our (economic development) efforts,” Barksdale said. “We will continue to develop our industrial parks.”
Saunders and Barksdale also stressed continued efforts in workforce development. Both cited as an example the precision machining program operated by Danville Community College.
Danville also has worked with the Danville Regional Foundation and Danville Industrial Development Authority in redevelopment of the River District, which includes the city’s downtown and Historical Tobacco Warehouse areas.
Local leaders view the district as the “living room” to the city, with signature assets such as the Dan River, the Riverwalk Trail and many of the oldest, most architecturally attractive and significant buildings in the city. These assets distinguish Danville from other communities in competing to attract new residents and new businesses.
Saunders said the $20 million spent in public investment in the River District has generated more than $90 million in private investment. The private investment includes apartments, restaurants, higher education, health/fitness and entertainment options.
The public and private investment in the River District has garnered multiple state and regional honors. Saunders said later this year the city will be honored by the Virginia Municipal League for the redevelopment of the district.
“We’re proud of our accomplishments and working hard on making this the best region in Virginia,” Saunders said.