Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Yappy Hour

Grab your leash and bring your pup for an after work Yappy Hour at the Crossing at the Dan! Yappy Hour 2017 is sponsored by Leggett Town & Country.

Various dog and pet product vendors will be giving demonstrations. The event will also feature live music, beverages and activities. Enter your dog into the “Pup Parade” and show off their cutest outfit! 

We are excited to be working with Ballad Brewing for their Grand Opening! Special prizes will be given out from Ballad and both events will take place at the same time!

Admission and parking are both free. Dogs must be on a leash during the event. Call (434) 799-5150.

Grand opening of Ballad Brewing

Bridge Street Food Truck Rodeo

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Perry joins economic development office

Kelvin G. Perry has joined the Danville Office of Economic Developmentas project manager.

His responsibilities include the recruitment and retention of businesses and developers to the River District, assisting with the management of grant and loan programs, assisting with industrial and technology-based recruitment, managing properties owned by the Industrial Development Authority, and enterprise zone administration.
Perry assumed his responsibilities with the City on April 3. Prior to joining the City, he was employed for 16 years by First State Bank as chief operating officer and then as president and chief executive officer. In addition, he assisted small businesses in southern Virginia with business and financial planning through his role as an independent consultant with the Longwood Small Business Development Center. Telly D. Tucker, director of the Office of Economic Development, said Perry has a wealth of experience in the finance and business development arenas, which will be a valuable addition to the economic development team.
"We are delighted to welcome Kelvin Perry onboard as project manager,” said Tucker. “His professional experience will broaden and diversify the expertise of the Office of Economic Development staff, and will allow us to improve our service delivery to new and existing business and industry.”
“I am very happy to be a member of such a dedicated and committed team of individuals,” said Perry. “These are critical yet exciting times for the Danville region. I look forward to bringing my expertise as a former banker and advocate for small businesses to encourage and promote opportunities for entrepreneurship and sustained growth.”
Perry is a graduate of the University of South Carolina with a major in banking and finance. He also serves on a number of boards and organizations, including the Delta Nu Lambda Chapter of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., the Hughes Memorial Foundation, the Danville YMCA, and Big Brother Big Sisters.

Danville, VA Local Government News and Announcements

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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Dan River Flooding by River City TV

Credits to River City TV

The Dan River in Danville,Virginia crest at 25.3 ft. in the early hours of Wednesday Morning. This was the 3rd highest crest in the past 20 years. We captured a few spots from the air on Tuesday Afternoon where the mighty Dan spilled its banks.

Growing trend: Community gardens part of local food movement

Community gardens have sprouted throughout the city and more could be on the way.
There are about a dozen in the city, according to a master garden list from Danville Housing and Development Planning Specialist Jackie Wells.
A lot of cities, including Danville, are looking to revitalize themselves and have more vacant land to grow food, said Annie Martinie, senior program officer with the Danville Regional Foundation.
The DRF has provided grants for groups to start community gardens in the city, and is talking to people who want to start others, Martinie said.
“It’s picking up,” she said.
The DRF provided a $10,000 Make It Happen grant for the Community Market’s garden in 2011. It also provided $10,000 for Camp Grove Baptist Church and about $2,000 for Moffett Memorial Baptist Church to start gardens. There also was a $17,598 investment for a garden under Grace and Main Fellowship in February 2016, Martinie said.
There are more likely to come, Martinie said.
Community gardens are part of a local food trend in which people know where their food comes from and they want it free of pesticides and chemicals, Martinie said.
Also, they enable community members to come together to grow food and eat healthier, she said.
“People who live close to community gardens and participate in community gardening eat more fruits and vegetables,” Martinie said.
The garden at the Community Market on Craghead Street has 15 plots, and provides residents the opportunity to plant their own produce, get in touch with nature and teach their children about gardening, said Kenny Porzio, program coordinator with the Crossing at the Dan.
“Most of them live in the River District,” Porzio said.
It’s convenient for them to walk over, plant, harvest, and go back to their apartments, he said.
Tomatoes and greens are the primary crops, Porzio said. Danville Parks and Recreation funds the garden, maintains it and helps clean it up. Porzio oversees the administration of the plots.
The garden started in 2011 and has an application process every March for those interested. Applicants are selected through a lottery system and assigned plots, Porzio said.
Like farmers markets, community gardens let residents get fresh local food and know where it’s coming from, Porzio said. 
Grace and Main Urban Farm — under Grace and Main Fellowship — has at least 20 beds for people to grow food at Moffett Street. Habitat for Humanity donated the land to the fellowship in 2014.
About 60 percent of space is reserved for the community to grow food — including that for the 70 community meals a year the fellowship hosts — or to be given away to the needy, said Joshua Hearne, director of Grace and Main Fellowship.
The other 40 percent is for those who have their own small gardens, Hearne said.
Everything is chemical-free, sustainable and inexpensive, he said.
“They can come and garden with us for a few seasons and if they’re ready to start their own gardens elsewhere, we’ll help them out,” Hearne said.
The space at Grace and Main Urban Farm is about 1.4 acres, with food grown on about 3/4 of an acre, he said. The farm has fruit trees and herbs and grows a plethora of vegetables including tomatoes, squash, zucchini, peppers, cucumber, watermelons, onions, potatoes, carrots, turnips, beets, green beans, October beans and a variety of greens.
A leadership team oversees the gardens — some have gardening and farming experience and others have overcome homelessness, Hearne said. The organization works with those experiencing poverty, addiction, hunger, homelessness and other injustices, he said.
The idea for the urban farm started after the fellowship planted six gardens for individuals in the north part of the city. Those gardens were the seed for the urban farm, Hearne said. 
Danville Parks and Recreation oversees community gardens at Coates and Stonewall recreation centers. Coates has three raised beds, and Stonewall has two.
Last summer, they grew basil, parsley, tomatoes, squash and zucchini, said Health and Wellness Program Coordinator Danielle Montague.
Parks and recreation provides parents with produce and recipes and teaches the children how to cook with the vegetables, Montague said.
“Sometimes, they will even come up with their own recipes,” she said.
Arugula and bok choy are being grown, as well as more fruit including strawberries, cantaloupe, watermelon, and blueberries, she said.
Wells started and oversees the city’s Lots of Potential community garden program, which works to change vacant and under-used, city-owned property into sites for food production.
The program connects churches and organizations with available plots of land they can apply for.
Some of the vacant lots in the city may not be ideal for development, so they could be used temporarily for gardening until a developer comes along to buy the property, Wells said.
“If there is an interested developer wanting to build homes or apartments on those lots, they would still be able to do that, but in the meantime, why not have some useful purpose for the land?” Wells said.
The gardens would be removed if a developer decides to build on the property, she said. 
Another community garden could be coming to the corner of Worsham and Wagner streets.
The Rev. Tommy Crews, of Right Touch Christian Church, plans to operate a community garden in partnership with the Lots of Potential program.
The Danville Planning Commission voted April 10 to recommend that City Council approve the plans.
Crews told commissioners during the meeting the garden would be not only for the church, but for the community at large. It would include fruits and vegetables, he said.
The garden would be on two parcels totaling about a half-acre at Worsham and Wagner streets. Useable garden space would be about 450 square feet.
Right Touch Christian Church would license the parcels from the city for up to a year, renewable at the end of each term.
It would increase “access to fresh foods in an area where there are few health food options for residents,” Wells said.
“There is increased awareness of what are commonly called ‘food deserts’ — or areas where nutritious food is difficult to obtain due to availability, distance, affordability or some other factor and the effect that these areas have on low- and moderate-income families, including increased health risks,” Wells said during an interview earlier this month.
Community gardens are one way to tackle that issue, she said.
“I’m excited that this local food movement is really taking off and people are interested in growing their own food,” Martinie said.
John Crane reports for the Danville Register & Bee. Contact him at jcrane@registerbee.com or (434) 791-7987.

River District Tobacco Mural

River District tobacco mural ‘a great reminder of the history of this area’

A mural highlighting Danville’s tobacco history was dedicated in the River District on Friday morning.
The 20-by-30-foot Tobacco Heritage Mural was painted in December on the side of 308 Craghead St. that faces Patton Street and is visible from the River District’s busiest intersection at Main and Craghead streets.
Community leaders, city officials and those active in historic preservation attended the dedication held in front of the mural painted by artist Wes Hardin, who also painted the transportation and Wreck of the Old 97 murals in the River District.
“This gift makes our city a better place in which to live,” Danville Mayor John Gilstrap said during the dedication. “This gift educates, inspires creativity, beautifies and promotes interest in our community.”
The mural is the third commissioned by the River District Association, which raised $20,000 over several years for the artwork.
Jerry Amburn, River District Association board member and chairman of its mural committee, said the group has worked to implement the mural program to showcase the city’s heritage through historic public art.
JTI Leaf Services and others donated money and contributed to the project.
Preservation Virginia Field Representative Sonja Ingram praised the rendering of the tobacco barn image in the mural and connected it to Preservation Virginia’s tobacco barns preservation project, which will have repaired more than 60 barns in the Dan River Region by the end of 2018. JTI has been funding the project.
William Gentry Jr., whose father William Gentry Sr. is depicted in the mural as a tobacco auctioneer, owns the building at 308 Craghead St. and gave the association permission to use the side of the structure for the project. The building houses Gentry Lofts and offices that face Craghead Street.
JTI President Steve Daniels called the mural “a great reminder of the history of this area.”
The mural includes a flue-cured tobacco barn at the top, a man in a bateau transporting tobacco and a tobacco auction featuring William Gentry Sr. as the auctioneer.
“I appreciate my Dad letting me put his face up here,” William Gentry Jr. said.
The tobacco industry has changed over the years and the auction system no longer exists, but U.S. tobacco – especially tobacco from the region including Danville and Southside Virginia – is the best-flavored tobacco in the world, Daniels said.
“Tobacco put Danville on the map, and it served as an economic catalyst for our city,” Gilstrap said.
Billy Yeargin Jr., a tobacco historian, pointed to tobacco’s role in Virginia since the early 17th century, when John Rolfe introduced it as a commercial crop.
Ernecia Coles, executive director of the River District Association, said the mural is something people can connect with.
“We’re hoping this will be part of people’s visits downtown,” Coles said.
The association’s next mural will honor Wendell Scott, the Danville native who became the first African-American NASCAR racecar driver.
John Crane reports for the Danville Register & Bee. Contact him at jcrane@registerbee.com or (434) 791-7987.

‘Danville Hokie Nation has come together’ Several dozen gather in River District for VT remembrance service

Del. Danny Marshall, R-Danville, spoke during the ceremony, reading part of poet Nikki Giovanni’s “We are Virginia Tech” convocation address from April 17, 2007, and urging everyone to keep those affected by the tragedy in their prayers.
The incident didn’t occur at a campus in a city in another part of the country, he pointed out.
“This tragedy took place in our own backyard – on the grounds of the Hokie Nation campus,” he said.
The lives taken that day were those of students and faculty who – as Pat Daniel said – “were at the top of their game,” Gilstrap said.
“They personified great promise and great accomplishment,” Gilstrap said.
Chatham businessman Ben Davenport Jr., a 1964 VT graduate, recalled that he was serving on the university’s Board of Visitors when the shootings happened. He received a call from his wife telling him about the incident.
“I got in my car and drove to Blacksburg,” Davenport said.
The victims were a cross-section of our nation and the world, Davenport said, before reading Giovanni’s convocation address from 10 years ago. “We will prevail, we will prevail, we will prevail. We are Virginia Tech.”
Kenny Lewis, who played football for Virginia Tech and the New York Jets, gave the prayer during the ceremony. His son was attending VT at the time and was in a building next to where shootings took place, Lewis said. His son had no idea what was going on, he said.
Virginia Tech alumni Chuck Vipperman and Fred Shanks read the names of the 32 victims — all “wonderful souls,” Vipperman said. He encouraged attendees to go online and learn about them.
The event included the ringing of a small brass bell 32 times and a balloon release.
Shanks, a city councilman and a 1982 Virginia Tech graduate, told the Danville Register & Bee after the event he had studied hydraulic engineering under one of the professors killed in the shootings – G.V. Loganathan, a civil and environmental engineering professor.
“He was a young and energetic professor when I was in school,” Shanks said, adding he was stunned when he heard about the shootings and Loganathan’s death.
The tragedy was especially emotional for Shanks, who grew up visiting Blacksburg because his father was from there.
“It [the shootings] was one of those moments like 9/11 where everybody knows where they were and what they were doing,” Shanks said.
Crane reports for the Danville Register & Bee.
John Crane reports for the Danville Register & Bee. Contact him at jcrane@registerbee.com or (434) 791-7987.

Council approves purchase of White Mill property

Danville City Council voted Tuesday night to appropriate $1.5 million from the general fund to go to the Industrial Development Authority toward the purchase of the White Mill property, which includes eight parcels.
Councilmen voted 7-2 for the motion, with Fred Shanks and Madison Whittle voting against the idea.
Shanks said the IDA has done a good job bringing properties back to useful life, but he is not ready to commit $1.5 million from unreserved fund balance knowing the city has critical needs.
The city has already allocated money for a football stadium renovation at George Washington High School and has a police station in dire need of replacement, Shanks said.
Also, there is no commitment in the property from a developer, Shanks said.
“How can we justify rushing into this?” Shanks said.
The IDA has $36 million in property and the purchase of the White Mill would bring that up to about $40 million, he pointed out.
Other councilmen supported purchase of the building.
Sherman Saunders said he understood Shanks’ concerns but given the momentum in the River District, “it seems like a good time to make an investment.”
“We are seeing progress in Danville,” Saunders said. “I think this investment is a good choice to make. Nothing in life is guaranteed.”
Lee Vogler said he is in favor of private sector investment, but he asked everyone to think about what downtown looked like before IDA investment. The River District’s progress didn’t happen without IDA investment, Vogler said.
“The demonization of the IDA is not warranted,” Vogler said.
Larry Campbell Jr. said downtown was “dark and gray” six years ago. Now money has been invested in the area, and the city is seeing possible development of a river front park.
“We want to make sure we get the right clientele in the building,” Campbell said.
He added that he was thankful for the IDA.
“This will be a major piece of turning this community around,” Campbell said.
The White Mill property is going to become very valuable to develop with a downtown river front park just below it, said Councilman Gary Miller. It’s imperative the city gets control of the property so Danville can control what goes into that property, he said.
Shanks said his feelings about the purchase of the White Mill property are not meant to be disrespectful toward city staff and the IDA.
“I just don’t see the hurry to do this,” Shanks said.
Vice Mayor Alonzo Jones said he was thankful the Economic Development Director Telly Tucker, the IDA and City Council are working to provide answers to citizens about what will be done with the White Mill building.
Whittle said the decision whether to purchase the property needs a little bit more thought.
Mayor John Gilstrap said of the proposal, “Opportunity involves risk. You can’t steal second by keeping your foot on first.”
The purchase agreement calls for a $1.5 million payment the current fiscal year and a second $1.5 million payment next fiscal year.
The city is seeking funding from several sources for the purchase, but until the sources are confirmed, the general fund balance will be used to pay for the purchase.
In another matter, City Council adopted an ordinance providing money for University of Virginia sub-recipient funding in amount of $237,832 to cover three years of spending from March 1 to Feb. 29, 2020.
The money from UVa and the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute will be used to continue investigating child obesity treatment programs on a community level.
The city will support the grant in kind through providing workspace for staff, information and technology needs, use of facilities for programs and implementation of grant and support from the Community Recreation Division director.
Councilmen also voted, following a public hearing, to rezone 407 Holbrook St. from old town residential to transitional office commercial.
The property will be developed into the Williams Community Resource Center, a mixed use development with two residential units on the upper level and two offices, a conference room and an exhibit hall on the lower level.
Construction is expected to be complete by the end of 2018.
John Crane reports for the Danville Register & Bee. Contact him at jcrane@registerbee.com or (434) 791-7987.

iScribes gets $250,000 boost from The Launch Place, looks to hire locally

The Launch Place is investing $250,000 in a company that enables doctors to record patient encounters using an app and have the medical information documented and entered into their medical records by remote writers.
Representatives with Durham, North Carolina-based iScribes and The Launch Place announced the investment Friday morning at Spectrum Medical in River District Tower.
The money is to further iScribes’ operation capacity and technology for delivering its virtual services, said Jimmy McGarry, who serves on the board of directors for The Launch Place.
“It’s an investment, which means we have confidence in their company,” McGarry said during the announcement.
Community leaders attended the event, including city officials and Delegate Danny Marshall, R-Danville.
iScribes, which started in 2014, has 27 employees in Virginia and is in eight states, said CEO and founder Dr. Jared Pelo. He hopes to hire scribes in the Dan River Region who would work from home.
“I plan on bringing lots of jobs to the region,” Pelo told the Register & Bee.
Christopher McGuire is the co-founder and head of sales at iScribes.
The company will have a satellite office at The Launch Place, Pelo said.
With iScribes, health care providers record patient encounters using the mobile app, and remote, virtual writers listen to the interaction, write medical documentation and enter it into electronic medical records for the providers. It saves physicians hundreds of hours per year of clerical work, according to Pelo.
Doctors spend 40 percent of their time documenting patient visits in electronic medical records, decreasing available time for patient care, Pelo said.
The use of medical records has been an important step in the modernization of health care, but it has posed challenges for providers. It has also affected the doctor-patient relationship, with some physicians conducting exams facing a computer instead of their patients.
“iScribes exists to make health care functional and efficient,” Pelo, an emergency medicine doctor for Centra, said in a prepared statement. “Virtual medical scribes enable providers to conduct patient encounters naturally and efficiently with exceptionally high-quality documentation.”
No dictation is required and the scribes complete documentation directly in the provider’s electronic medical records.
Two physicians at Spectrum Medical use iScribes, Pelo said during the announcement.
“The problem of time-consuming documentation for every patient office visit has been reduced,” said Dr. John Mahoney, orthopedic surgeon at Spectrum Medical, who has used iScribes since October. “I can focus more on my patients instead of spending long hours at a computer or working with dictation services.”
Dr. Jonathan Krome at Spectrum Medical also uses iScribes, Pelo said.
iScribes has continued to grow since it began in March 2014, Pelo said.
“We love this region, we love Southern Virginia,” he told attendees. “We want to grow the ecosystem in this area.”
“It’s exciting even to be in this building today,” McGuire said, referring to the new River District Tower.
The Launch Place led the investment deal in which Triangle Angel Partners II, LLC (TAP II), an angel investment fund in the Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, co-invested for a total of $410,000.
“We have had a strong relationship with TAP for multiple years and look forward to continuing our work together,” said Launch Place President and CEO Eva Doss, in a prepared statement. “iScribes’ use of technology to improve a health provider’s productivity and accuracy as well as overall patient satisfaction has shown tremendous traction in the last year by the number of customers that have selected to use iScribes for their medical documentation.”
iScribes is the 12th investment for The Launch Place, totaling $2.25 million.
As for providing jobs, Pelo said the company is hiring. A medical background is not needed for positions, he said.
Applicants must be hard workers and decent writers, Pelo said. Those interested can apply online at iscribes.co.
The Launch Place, from a $10 million grant received from the Danville Regional Foundation in 2012, helps with entrepreneurship and business development, and job creation and retention through its business consulting, mentoring and training, residential and office subsidies, and two seed investment funds in the Dan River Region.
John Crane reports for the Danville Register & Bee. Contact him at jcrane@registerbee.com or (434) 791-7987.

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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Riverwalk Trestle Bridge has reopened!

Danville Parks and Recreation announced this morning that the Riverwalk Trestle Bridge has reopened.  Thank you to the construction crews who were able to repair the bridge a day early. Enjoy your day on the Riverwalk!

Photo Credits: River City TV

IDA plans to buy White Mill property in Danville

The Industrial Development Authority plans to buy the White Mill property — including the building — for $3 million.
Danville City Council will hold a first reading on whether to appropriate $1.5 million from its general fund for the IDA to purchase the property during council’s upcoming meeting Tuesday night.
The IDA board voted to purchase the property during its meeting Tuesday.

The purchase agreement calls for a first payment this year and a second $1.5 million to be paid in 2017-18. The IDA would buy eight parcels totaling slightly more than 20 acres, City Manager Ken Larking said Wednesday.
One parcel totals about 18 acres and the remaining pieces are small properties, Larking said.
In addition to the $3 million, $50,000 will pay for due diligence — property analysis — that must be complete by May 15, Larking said. Closing is expected by June 15, he said.
The IDA will cover the cost of due diligence, Larking said.
Officials believe a planned Riverfront Park would help attract businesses and industry to the property. The park would be built on four acres between the White Mill and the King Memorial Bridge across from the YMCA.
“Development potential along the river is of great importance to the city and our economic development office has identified that [control of the site] as a key step toward developing a world-class riverfront development in our city,” Larking said Wednesday.
The IDA and the city see those parcels along the river as critical for future economic growth of the area, said Neal Morris, IDA board chairman.
With the park planned in the area along the King Memorial Bridge, purchase of the White Mill property will give the city and the IDA all the property between the Union Street and MLK bridges, Morris said. “That’s really a nice piece of property through there,” Morris said.
The White Mill building is 650,000 square feet. It was constructed in 1920 and was part of Dan River Inc.
White Mill Development LLC, a subsidiary of Spartanburg, South Carolina-based Gibbs International, bought the property in 2009 and announced it was bringing 400 high-tech jobs to the city.
The total purchase price of the eight parcels was $2.4 million plus closing costs, according to the city of Danville. In addition, Gibbs spent $1.5 million to abate asbestos and lead paint in the White Mill itself and other structures that were eventually demolished. In total, Gibbs spent more than $4 million for the purchase, cleanup, demolition, legal fees and closing costs, according to the city.
The company promised to bring the jobs and $400 million in capital investment to the project over five years, but the plans never materialized.
If the purchase goes through and the city appropriates money for it, city staff will oversee a master plan process for the site. It would include public input on how to redevelop the properties, Larking said.
The city would market the site aggressively to developers for possible development of the White Mill and adjacent property, Larking said.
City officials will seek funding from a variety of sources to pay for the purchase, he said.
“However, until those funding sources are confirmed, it is recommended that general fund balance be used to pay for purchase,” Larking wrote in a council packet letter to council members.
The IDA is tasked with supporting economic development goals and objectives for Danville. The authority buys and develops industrial land and downtown properties, and acts as a conduit for incentives for projects. The IDA has led downtown redevelopment by acting on recommendations from the 2011 River District Development Plan and acquiring and redeveloping projects in the River District.
Larking said people have inquired about the property but there are no solid prospects for the site.
Linwood Wright, consultant for the city’s economic development office, said of the plan to purchase the site, “It is a very positive move for the city and gets control of major property along the river, which is probably one of the greatest assets the city has.”
John Crane reports for the Danville Register & Bee. Contact him at jcrane@registerbee.com or (434) 791-7987.

Riverfront park vision detailed to council

A cascading water wall. Steps and lawn terraces facing the Dan River. An oval lawn large enough to throw a Frisbee, hold a community concert, host a Flag Day event or stage food truck rodeos.

Those are all part of a vision for a Riverfront park proposed by a design firm hired by the city. It would be located on four acres at Memorial Drive and Main Street between the White Mill building and Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Bridge.
A designer at DHM Design Inc. in Raleigh, North Carolina, presented the conceptual plan during a Danville City Council special work session Tuesday evening.

Principal Graham Smith and Landscape designer Jeremy Arnett prepared the conceptual plan. Smith presented the plan to council
The plans include “a very engaging public space that includes a splash pad/waterplay area. From there, a cascading water wall leads to steps and lawn terraces that face the Dan River and partially encircle the much larger community lawn area. The oval lawn is large enough to throw a Frisbee, hold a community concert, host the Flag Day event, and stage Food Truck Rodeos.”
The plans also call for highlighting the architecture of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Bridge.
Possible lighting of the bridge could extend the park’s effect across the Dan River to attract visitors to the space, according to the plan.

A trail extension cutting across the park’s northern boundary would connect at the parking area and trailhead at Main Street Plaza, according to the plan.
“This trail extension is designed extra wide and of a more unique pavement material in order to act as a promenade that allows casual visitors to overlook the water surface and its activities,” according to the plan.
The promenade — on the side that would face the river — would fall away into a series of concrete steps allowing users to sit close and touch the water, according to plans. The idea is to “pull the river back into the landscape,” Smith said.
A proposed multi-age play place, a kayak/canoe put-in and a small parking area would be at the western end of the park.
The bulk of the site park would be in a floodplain, Smith pointed out to councilmen Tuesday evening.
“Most of the site is a 100-yewar-old floodplain,” he said, adding that it restricts how to develop the site.
“This whole site will flood in a 100-year flood,” he added. “We do want to make sure we create a park that is resilient.”
Councilmen questioned Smith about the design.
Lee Vogler noted that a proposed sand beach area — where visitors could lay out in the sun — was switched out for turf.
“Is that still going to be possible if it’s turf?” Vogler asked Smith.
“We thought turf would hold up better,” Smith responded, adding that there could be a sandy pocket further up the hill.
Councilman Larry Campbell Jr. asked if a skate park area would be feasible.
Space-wise, it could be done, Smith said. However, mixing skaters and small children “might not be the best plan,” Smith added.
Campbell said he wanted the park to be relatable to as many age groups as possible.
Councilman Gary Miller also said he liked the idea of a beach along the river, but had a problem with the lawn area split into several sections.
Vogler pointed out that with a divided lawn area, visitors could partake in a variety of activities instead of having one group taking over the area.
Other features would include an entry plaza and transportation improvements.
The main entry to the plaza would be located at the intersection of Main Street and Memorial Drive, according to the plan.
Brick pavers would visually connect the entrance to the existing brick crosswalks into the site and decorative bollards protect pedestrians from vehicles. From the entry, the visitor would have three options to choose from: small seating nooks and landscaped area to the right; down the steps to the splash pad in the center; or the accessible ramp to a sprayground and playground beyond on the left, according to the plan.
The project also includes separate but paralleling transportation improvement studies which include a road diet along Memorial Drive to account for parallel parking and a downtown trolley bus stop, according to the plan.
The conceptual plan also calls for space for an artistic shelter to provide shade and interest to the park. Either side of the water wall would be the curvilinear turf steps that invite visitors to relax, read a book, or people-watch activity on the lawn.
The lawn and stage would entail a relatively flat lawn area housing the stage at one end. Decorative concrete bands break up the turf to provide contrast and to discourage large-scale active recreation, according to the plan. The stage and shelter would be flush with the turf and its supports can be deconstructed in case of potential flooding in an effort to mitigate floodplain concerns, according to the plan.
Surrounding the lawn would be an asphalt walking loop with landscaped areas to offer a small sense of enclosure, according to the conceptual plan.

Playground and climbing boulders also would be included.
As for the parking area and water access, a small parking area would provide 10 parking spaces, including two accessible spaces as well as a small drop-off area.
“The design relies on nearby parking lots, parking structures, and future projects to account for the increase in parking need,”according to the plan. Adjacent to the parking area would be two bioswales aimed at capturing and treating the first flush of stormwater run-off, according to the plan. Visitors would also be able to access the water for non-motorized watercraft via a winding ramp connected to the parking lot.
An analysis of conditions at the site also found:
» The nearby existing (White Mill) dam plays a major role in the overall park experience by providing both an audio and visual element as well as having significant impact on the water levels of the site;
» Viewsheds into and out of the park are important items to consider given the topography and major entryway into the downtown Danville area;
» The streambank continues to erode due to the lack of riparian vegetation and fluctuating river currents;
» The Riverwalk greenway trailheads at the Martin Luther King Jr. Bridge and there is an existing easement dedicated to its expansion through the park;
» The park plays a role in providing sidewalk connections on its perimeter;
» The recently renovated Main Street Plaza and comfort station provide much needed public facilities and a pedestrian-friendly connection point to the park.
In early 2016, Danville, led by the parks and recreation department, solicited firms for a Riverfront Park plan.
Public workshops were held in the summer and fall presenting conditions at the site and seeking public input on what they wanted in a park.
A short survey was handed out during the summer, as well as a link to a digital version of the questionnaire in order to get public feedback as for three weeks after the event.
DHM received about 275 responses to the survey, including many written responses describing what people wanted for the park.
About 50 people attended the fall workshop held in November, where they chose among two possible park concepts. About 90 participants also completed a survey choosing among the two concepts while including elements from the other concept.
Crane reports for the Danville Register & Bee.
John Crane reports for the Danville Register & Bee. Contact him at jcrane@registerbee.com or (434) 791-7987.

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