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The city of Danville has won the 2012 Community Economic Development Award. The award, given by the Virginia Economic Developers Association, recognized outstanding communities in the commonwealth for their efforts in advancing the economic viability of their community through economic and community development programs.
The city of Danville’s Office of Economic Development submitted the winning application, focusing on the River District revitalization effort and its impact on community development, business attraction and community involvement.
“I am very thankful for the award and the recognition,” said David Parrish, deputy city manager. “The city is committed to the transformation of the River District and has set an aggressive timeline to do so. We could not be successful without the support from the community, downtown stakeholders and our partners in the effort – the Danville Regional Foundation and the Industrial Development Authority.”
All nominations were reviewed and evaluated by an awards committee, which was composed of community and economic development leaders from around the state. Nominees were grouped according to population and evaluated against communities of similar size. Danville’s submission fell into the population category of 40,001 to 100,000.
Evaluation criteria focused on innovativeness, transferability, community commitment and leverage, measured objectives and secondary benefits.
The nomination now will be submitted to the Southern Economic Development Council for its regional competition later in the spring.
In November 2010, the “renaissance” of the River District was launched with a trip, sponsored by the Danville Regional Foundation (DRF), to Greenville, S.C., to learn of its 20-year downtown revitalization efforts. From this trip, Council members, city staff and city administration started to develop a strategy for redeveloping the River District.
Since the trip, the city of Danville, along with the DRF staff and downtown leaders sought a consulting group to help determine how to best utilize the land in the River District, design a cohesive feel to the area, and bring together property owners, businesses and residents within the district as well as the entire community in the redevelopment effort.
Out of 22 firms responding to the request for proposals, BBP & Associates LLC and Allison Platt & Associates were selected to head the $100,000 project, which was predominately paid by a grant from the DRF.
The city was recently approved for a $1.4 million grant from the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) to improve downtown Danville’s streets and sidewalks. The VDOT funds, in addition to matching funds from the city, will be used to widen existing sidewalks, install brick pavers, create more visible pedestrian crossings, and provide amenities such as outdoor café space and new lighting.
Phase One of the streetscape improvement plan includes Main Street, from Craghead Street/Memorial Drive to Floyd Street, and North Union Street from Main Street to Spring Street. Land Planning & Design Associates from Charlottesville is responsible for this phase of construction, which will begin in fall 2012.