On behalf of the City of Danville, the River District Association was presented this week with a Virginia Main Street Merit Award for Best Downtown Public Improvement Project at the Virginia Main Street Downtown Intersections Conference in Staunton.
This award is given to the municipality or Main Street organization that has designed and implemented attractive and sympathetic improvements to improve the built environment within a Virginia Main Street Program area.
“Our Virginia Main Street communities are truly making a difference in our beautiful downtown districts,” said DHCD Director Bill Shelton. ”In the last five years, designated Main Street communities have sparked more than $159 million in private investment in their districts, and as a result, there has been a net collective gain of 4,400 jobs across our Main Street downtown districts.”
Since 2010, the city of Danville has strategically worked to engage public-private partnerships, resulting in more than $100 million in downtown investment. In May of 2015, the city celebrated these efforts and revealed the downtown community’s new branding and tagline, “River District: Reimagine That.” Throughout the past year, the city lived up to the new brand, completing five notable public improvement projects in downtown Danville, prompting the River District Association’s nomination:
1. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Bridge Multiuse Trail Extension (Public Works Department, City of Danville); 2. Public restrooms and multi-level water fountain at Main Street Plaza (Public Works Department, City of Danville); 3. Bridge Street Electric Substation fencing [and lighting] (Danville Utilities, City of Danville); 4. Bicycle Fix Station and multi-level water fountain at The Crossing at the Dan (Parks and Recreation, City of Danville); and 5. HOME sign refurbishment and installation as public art in the heart of the River District (City of Danville in collaboration with the Danville Historical Society, History United and the River District Association).
Ernecia Coles, Executive Director of the River District Association, said, “The City of Danville’s Public Works, Utilities, and Parks and Recreation Departments are filled with hardworking, creative thinkers who not only see a void, but work to meet the need in ways that make the River District, and Danville as a whole, an appealing place for businesses, residents and visitors. The River District Association is pleased that the Commonwealth of Virginia recognizes their efforts, and to accept this award on their behalf.”
In addition to Danville, Virginia Main Street recognized the following communities for excellence: Altavista for Volunteer of the Year; Gloucester for Best Downtown Retail Event; Harrisonburg for Outstanding Business; and Luray for Outstanding Fundraising Effort.
Currently, there are 29 designated Virginia Main Street communities including: Abingdon, Altavista, Ashland, Bedford, Berryville, Blackstone, Bristol, Culpeper, Danville, Farmville, Franklin, Fredericksburg, Gloucester, Harrisonburg, Hopewell, Lexington, Luray, Lynchburg, Manassas, Marion, Martinsville, Orange, Saint Paul, South Boston, Staunton, Warrenton, Waynesboro, Winchester and Wytheville.
The Virginia Main Street program, managed by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), provides assistance and training to help communities increase the economic vitality of their downtown commercial districts. Virginia Main Street uses the National Main Street model to help communities revitalize their downtowns by focusing on their unique heritage and attributes. The program helps communities implement a comprehensive revitalization strategy that creates economic growth and pride in downtowns.
For more information about the Virginia Main Street program, call (804) 371-7030 or visit www.dhcd.virginia.gov/MainStreet.