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News release from the River District Association
River District Association has been designated as an accredited Main Street™ program for meeting rigorous performance standards. Each year, Main Street America and its partners announce the list of accredited programs to recognize their exceptional commitment to preservation-based economic development and community revitalization through the Main Street Approach™.
“We are proud to recognize this year’s 889 nationally accredited Main Street programs that have worked tirelessly to advance economic vitality and quality of life in their downtowns and commercial districts,” said Patrice Frey, President & CEO of Main Street America. “During an incredibly challenging year, these programs demonstrated the power of the Main Street movement to drive impressive local recovery efforts, champion small businesses, and foster vibrant downtown districts. I am inspired by their hard work and confident that these accredited communities will continue to help their downtowns flourish in the next stages of recovery.”
In 2020, Main Street America programs generated $4.14 billion in local reinvestment, helped open 4,356 net new businesses, generated 14,988 net new jobs, catalyzed the rehabilitation of 8,488 historic buildings, and clocked 983,702 volunteer hours.
The River District Association’s performance is annually evaluated by Virginia Main Street, which works in partnership with Main Street America to identify the local programs that meet 10 national performance standards. Evaluation criteria determine the communities that are building meaningful and sustainable revitalization programs and include standards such as, fostering strong public-private partnerships, documenting programmatic progress, and actively preserving historic buildings
Over the past year, RDA has built upon its success in downtown economic development and programs and events that contribute to a needed sense of vibrancy and security while increasing physical interaction within the natural and built environment of downtown.
The fruits of those labors have paid off, with a minimal loss in the number of businesses in our downtown district despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The pace of Danville’s property development, revitalization, and new business openings have continued despite the pandemic and resulting hardships faced by local merchants and investors.
In 2020 RDA worked with community partners to provide workshops, e-commerce assistance, and emergency aid to downtown businesses, distributed 26,000 holiday gift guides with an accompanying 2 hour televised holiday special to boost local holiday sales, has distributed more than $50,000 in façade improvement grants, and ran the Dream Launch Bootcamp and Pitch competition for the third year, ultimately providing $50,000 in funding to start-up businesses locating in the River District.
“We are thrilled to once again receive the status of Accredited Main Street through both the state and national organization” said Diana Schwartz, Executive Director of the River District Association. “I am incredibly proud of all our board has been able to accomplish, and grateful for our partnership with the City of Danville and funding though Danville Regional Foundation that supports our continued work and success in revitalizing Downtown Danville” said Schwartz.
ABOUT RIVER DISTRICT ASSOCIATION
The River District Association was organized in 1999 as the Downtown Danville Association. In May 2015, the organization was renamed the River District Association to complement the City’s River District brand and is an accredited Virginia and National Main Street Community. The office is located at 208 N. Union Street, Danville, VA 24541
ABOUT MAIN STREET AMERICA
Main Street America has been helping revitalize older and historic commercial districts for 40 years. Today, it is a network of more than 1,600 neighborhoods and communities, rural and urban, who share both a commitment to place and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development Since 1980, communities participating in the program have leveraged more than $89.57 billion in new public and private investment, generated 687,321 net new jobs and 154,435 net new businesses, and rehabilitated more than 303,836 buildings. Main Street America is a program of the nonprofit National Main Street Center, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. For more information, visit www.mainstreet.org