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The Danville United Community Relations Coalition met Thursday night to hear a presentation on the city of Danville’s blight eradication program.
About 40 citizens attended the meeting, which took place as a mix of snow and sleet from the latest winter storm began to fall outside the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research on Slayton Avenue.
Deputy City Manager Ken Larking said city is making progress with blight. He cited as examples the removal of the former Downtowner Motor Inn on Main Street and the former Danville Lumber Yard on Lynn Street.
“Blight is harmful,” Larking said. “It is more than an eyesore. It has a negative impact on neighborhoods. It decreases property values.”
The goal of city's blight eradication program is to restore the stability and marketability of neighborhoods, he said. The city currently has 312 active cases involving blighted properties. Of this number, 128 are demolition cases.
Community Development Director Earl Reynolds said demolition, however, is not the only component of the city’s blight program. He talked about the addition last year of a third rental inspection district. This district is located in Old West End area.
One new strategy is the creation of a low interest loan pool to qualified homeowners to correct derelict conditions. “This program has been successful in other cities,” Reynolds said.
The city also has created a receivership program. It is evaluating buildings for the program.
In May, the city will hold its second annual “Make Danville Shine” campaign. The month-long effort encourages residents and businesses to paint, cleanup and fixup their properties. Churches and organizations are urged to participate by helping property owners who need assistance.
Following the presentation, small groups discussions were held to further discuss blight and its impact on neighborhoods.
The next meeting of the coalition is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, May 8, at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research.
Danville City Council voted unanimously in October to create the coalition. The coalition provides a means for networking, information sharing and strategy development to make Danville a more tolerant, friendly and welcoming community to all regardless of race, gender, religion, creed, ethnicity, nationality, or economic status.
The Rev. Ron Johnson, pastor at Holbrook Presbyterian Church in Danville, serves as chairman of Danville United. The Rev. John Carroll, pastor at First Baptist, is the vice chairman.
Membership is open to all individuals and organizations. For more information on Danville United, visit www.danvilleunited.org.