Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Public Wi-Fi on the New Main Street

The nDanville network has installed public Wi-Fi connection on Main Street in the River District.

An event was held today to celebrate the addition of four hotspot locations on the 300, 400, and 500 blocks of Main Street to provide outdoor Wi-Fi connections. The connection is offered by the City of Danville and is free to the public. It is not intended to replace existing commercial or residential internet connections.

“nDanville was launched primarily to stimulate economic development in Danville,” said Joe King, City Manager. “Providing free public Wi-Fi in the River District is part of that strategy. This Main Street Wi-Fi deployment is just the first of many to come.”

Danville VA, Virginia, River District, Downtown Danville, Free Wi-fi, #RDWifi

River District Wi-Fi will be available at the Main Street Plaza this summer, and any future expansions will be planned as streetscape projects are developed. The Main Streetscape project and the free public Wi-Fi are amenities that will attract people to the River District and help the businesses there.

“Public improvements are an important aspect of downtown development,” said Corrie Teague, project manager for the Office of Economic Development. “Our investment in public projects has resulted in over $86 million of private investment in the River District since 2006.

The JTI Fountain, Riverwalk trailhead, and Main Street Plaza are expected to be completed this spring.  The new Danville Family YMCA, additional public parking, and many more will be added to the list of additions before the end of 2014. The River District will also be officially branded before summer with a new logo, tag-line, and marketing efforts to attract citizens and visitors to the area. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Digital Dome due to delight: Newest high-tech theater opening soon

The Danville Science Center is celebrating its 20th year of existence with an exciting new development — the unveiling the Danville Digital Dome on Feb. 22.
From 9 a.m. to noon, Science Center members will enjoy the first peek at the Dome, followed by an opening to the general public from noon to 5 p.m.
The Digital Dome theater features a state-of-the-art projection system that will translate science into an immersive full-dome visual and surround-sound audio experience.
Visitors to the 100-seat theater will feel the universe stretch endlessly over their heads, dinosaurs will reach down and grab them from their seats (or so it will seem!) and volcanoes will erupt in terrifying closeness.
In fact, it is estimated that 40,000 people will experience Danville’s Digital Dome in the first year alone.
But the past 20 years have been full of a lot of growth for the Science Center, a division of the Science Museum of Virginia, and an integral partner in the Crossing of the Dan, a complex of restored historic buildings in Danville’s downtown warehouse district.
“The positive influence of the Science Center has continued to grow as the offerings, exhibits, programs and facilities have expanded,” said Jeff Liverman, the recently retired executive director of the Science Center. “Today, the Science Center welcomes more than 30,000 visitors a year from all across our region, state and county. Exhibits that appeal to all ages, learning styles and interests are all part of the Science Center experience.”
Photo by Steve Mantilla - Danville Register & Bee

The complex
The Science Center spreads its fun across two buildings: Science Central in the former Southern Railway Administrative Building, plus an addition in 2005, and Science Station, the Southern Railway Passenger Station, which still operates as an Amtrak station.
Trains whiz by often to the delight of Crossing visitors.
Other stops include the Butterfly Station and Garden, a Norfolk and Western Caboose and the River Lab down by the Dan River.
The Butterfly Station will open again for the season on April 19 with the annual Spring Fling for butterflies and herbs. The garden gates open at 11 a.m. with butterfly releases at noon and 2 p.m.
The Butterfly Station and Garden, as well as the caboose, are open to the public free of charge. The River Lab is open by appointment.
A new universe
The Digital Dome will offer visitors a “whole universe of exciting presentations featuring a full spectrum of science topics,” Liverman said.
“The Digital Dome is a 360-degree film experience that puts you in the midst of the action. Plus, we will be able to take you to the edges of the known universe with our advanced astronomy software,” said Liverman. “The 100-seat capacity is also ideal for dramatic science demonstrations or small science theater programs.”
The first movies shown at the Dome will be “Flight of the Butterflies,” “Cosmic Journey: Adventure through the Solar System” and “Perfect Little Planet,” a title for young audiences.
“The times of the movies will change as we look at the demand,” said Sonya Wolen, assistant director. “We will have a minimum of three movies per day and two on Sunday. The best thing to do is look on the website [] for times or to call the Science Center.”
Exhibit fun
Permanent exhibits at the Science Center include:
   » Fundamentals of Science that unlocks the secrets of biology, gravity, friction, force, light and magnetism.
   » Sproutsville and Oh Zone, a small-scale town full of building fun and light and color investigations for ages 2 to 8.
   » Science on a Sphere that uses computers and projectors to display animated data on the outside of a large sphere.
   » Time of Your Life that explores the triggers of biological timing.
   » The Estelle H. Womack Natural History Collection with its collections of large animal mounts, fauna and flora of the Dan River Region and collections of fossils and minerals.
Besides the permanent exhibits, however, are the visiting exhibits. Exhibits for 2014 include:
   » From Here to There: This exhibit is at the Science Center until May 18 and explores the science of how things move.
   » Attack of the Bloodsuckers: Also here through May 18, this exhibit explores the world of sanguinivores, or creatures that eat blood. The exhibit includes encounters with live species and interactive activities.
The Science Center expects to have the visiting exhibit “Ocean Bound” throughout the summer and fall.
The exhibit will take “visitors on a journey through watersheds to see how everyone’s actions affect our ocean,” according to the news release.
Features will include a 3-D watershed model through which they can guide water from mountain streams to oceans, through storm drains and through hazardous mazes. Families can also move “rain clouds” over 3-D terrains and pilot a life-size “submersible” to discover aquatic life and habitats along the way.
The Science Center is committed to keeping individual admissions, including the theater, to less than $10, according to Liverman. Adult admission is $7 for exhibits only, $6 for film only and both for $10; youth and seniors (60+) is $6 for exhibits, $5 for film and both for $9; and members are free.
Additional membership information is on the website at
Spend a day at the Crossing
The Danville Science Center is not the only activity to fill a day at the Crossing at the Dan.
Beginning the first Saturday of May and ending the last Saturday in October, the Community Market opens early in the morning to host the Danville Farmers Market. Local gardeners and farmers market their fresh fruit and vegetables; pork, chicken and beef; fresh baked goods; and other commodities and wares. Come early for the best selection.
Across the parking lot at the Crossing visitors can also access Danville’s paved Riverwalk Trail that winds more than eight miles beside the Dan River. The Riverwalk also links to the 25-mile Anglers Ridge mountain bike trail system.
A few blocks away, antique hunters can shop at Lou’s Antiques at 225 Main St.
And then to catch a good meal, there are several dining option close by:
   » Jake’s on Main at 215 Main St.
(434) 792-0123 /
   » Dell’Anno’s Pizza Kitchen at 316 Main St.
(434) 794-1100
   » Golden Leaf Bistro at 316 Craghead St.
(434) 791-3191 /
   » Main Street Coffee Emporium at 547 Main St.
(434) 792-4252

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

More Living Room in the River District

Danville, Va. – The developers of the Pemberton Lofts will begin phase two of construction this month and will soon start on another residential River District project on Craghead Street.

The Pemberton lofts, located at 541 and 549 Bridge Street, have revitalized the former Pemberton & Penn Tobacco Co. prizery and offices. The project is managed by a duo of developers from Richmond, Ross Fickenscher and Garrett Shifflett, specializing in historic renovations and high-end residential design. Phase one of the project began in October 2012 and finished last summer, and the developers have seen great success and interest.

the Atrium at the Pemberton Lofts in Danville, VA
Leasing of the first phase has gone well thus far.  We continue to experience a positive response from potential tenants and look forward to further meeting the needs of those who wish to relocate to the River District,” said Fickenscher. “Pemberton Lofts provides an attractive living arrangement and location within Danville's River District along the Dan River and Riverwalk Trail, large common areas, attention to finish detail and design, fitness-facility, ample parking, and accommodating apartment lay-outs.”

Completion of phase two will add 50 residential units to the 62 already completed in phase one, and bring tenants of Pemberton Lofts a large rear patio with seating and a fire-pit. The Pemberton Lofts joins newly remodeled Smith Seeds Apartments on Lynn Street, Ferrell Historic Lofts, Lynn Street Lofts, Lindsay Lofts, Burton Condominiums, Dan River Crossing Apartments. These properties combine to provide over 300 downtown new residential spaces downtown for all types of citizens.

“More and more citizens want to live downtown as development progresses, and the historic buildings make for very attractive spaces,” said Corrie Teague, project manager for the Office of Economic Development. “The historic rehab process is exhaustive and we are grateful for the investment of all of our developers.”

The Office of Economic Development along with Fickenscher and Shifflett are excited to announce a new property at 610 Craghead Street which will be called "The Continental."  This development will feature much the same fit and finish as Pemberton Lofts and will include a greater percentage of large two-bedroom apartments with additional closet and storage space.  The project will include an easily accessed commercial space for a potential small restaurant, market, or coffee shop.  In addition, tenants of The Continental will have covered and secured parking on the 1st floor of the building.  The development plan calls for this project to be available in early 2015.

The Continental. 610 Craghead Street, Danville, VA

 “Danville and the surrounding region holds much promise for current and future economic development and growth,” said Fickenscher. “The recent Economic Summit was a fitting demonstration of the professional aptitude and approach maintained by those who recognize the fate of the region's vibrancy is dependent upon future investment in and assistance of businesses that choose to establish themselves in Danville.”

“Public improvements are also vital to the rebirth of our downtown,” said Teague. “The Main Streetscape project finished at the end of the last year and nDanville has recently added free public Wi-Fi along Main Street. We expect the JTI Fountain, Riverwalk trailhead, and Main Street Plaza to be completed this spring.”

The River District will also be officially branded before summer with a new logo, tag-line, and marketing efforts to attract citizens and visitors to the area. The Danville Science Center Digital Dome, YMCA, additional public parking, and many more will be added to the list of additions before the end of 2014.

“While support for the Main Street and River District sections of Danville has been overwhelming, and major investments continue to play a key role in the revitalization efforts, it is the basic day-to-day activities, expenditures, and reflections of the people of Danville that will provide long-term sustainability,” said Fickenscher. “Whether it is going to the local coffee shop rather than Starbucks, eating downtown rather than at Outback, or choosing to tell someone from outside the region all the good that is happening rather than speaking of isolated bad-news, each resident and patron of Danville can help tremendously towards making Danville a source of pride.”


For interest on availability in the Pemberton Lofts, contact Anne Pritchett of Wilkins and Co. at (434) 797-4007.