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The City of Danville has received $740,000 from the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation for construction of the Riverfront Park to be located adjacent to the White Mill on four acres of the former Dan River Mills property.
With the addition of these funds, $7.2 million has been raised from public and private sources, including foundations, businesses and corporations, and individuals. Contributions are still being solicited and can be made by contacting the Parks and Recreation Department at (434) 799-5200.
“I am thankful to Delegate Danny Marshall for introducing an amendment to the state budget to help pay for the Riverfront Park and to Senator Frank Ruff for supporting it in the Senate,” Mayor Alonzo Jones said today. “The park will be a great amenity for the people of Danville and the region.”
Bill Sgrinia, director of the Parks and Recreation Department, said he is thankful for the state’s support and recognition of the importance of the Riverfront Park to the work that has been already been done by the private and public sectors in the city.
“The Riverfront Park is a true regional park that is being designed as the premier downtown public space,” Sgrinia said. “It is hoped that quality public spaces like this will continue to spur future investment. We greatly appreciate our state level officials championing this effort.”
The park is in the fundraising and engineering phase and will include an urban splash pad that will double as an artistic fountain, small performance area, river overlook, custom playground area, and river access.
The original cost estimate for construction was $10.1 million, but Sgrinia said that figure could go higher because material and labor costs have risen.
The $7.2 million raised includes a $4 million challenge grant from the Danville Regional Foundation. On Tuesday night, the City Council adopted a budget for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1, that sets aside gap funding up to $4 million. The gap funding will allow construction bids to be sought this fall.
Under the current timeline, construction would begin next spring, with completion in the spring or summer of 2023.
Besides construction of the Riverfront Park, the Parks and Department will oversee plans for a whitewater channel, restoration of the mill bridge, and extension of the Riverwalk Trail on the south bank of the river in front of the White Mill building. These projects are not included in the Riverfront Park construction cost estimates.
The whitewater channel will use much of the old canal system visible in front of the White Mill. It is being designed to allow control of the amount of water coming through the canal, which will make it appropriate for tubing, whitewater paddling, competitions and river rescue trainings.
The mill bridge that crosses the river from the White Mill building to the former Long Mill site will be converted to a pedestrian bridge to connect the Riverwalk Trail on the north and south banks of the river. The Industrial Development Authority will use grants to abate asbestos and lead paint and remove the bridge’s metal panels.
An easement over approximately 1.12 acres of land fronting the Dan River will allow for the extension of the Riverwalk Trail.