Danville City Council voted Tuesday night to declare the former W. Townes Lee Elementary School and a portion of the former Glenwood Elementary School as surplus property. In addition, City Council authorized city staff to solicit plans from potential developers who might be interested in redeveloping the properties.
Ownership of the school properties were transferred on July 1 to the city from Danville Public Schools. Except for a portion of the Glenwood Elementary School lot that contains Glenwood Recreation Center, staff has determined that the city does not have a need for these properties. The city will subdivide the Glenwood property into two lots and retain the recreation center site with the playgrounds.
The remainder of the Glenwood property and the Townes Lea property will be marketed to potential developers. Staff will evaluate requests for proposals based on price, proposed use, timeliness of redevelopment and past performance of the developers and financial capability.
W. Townes Lea Elementary School is located at 439 Cedarbrook Drive and Glenwood Elementary School is located at 1540 Halifax Road.
In other matters, council voted to:
» accept more than $1 million in federal money for housing programs. In addition, the money will be used to assist non-profit organizations in their service programs.
» accept a $5,000 grant from the Virginia Commission for the Arts. The grant requires an equal match from the city. With this money, the city assists local arts organizations. The city will advertise immediately for organizations to submit funding requests.
» accept grants and contributions totaling $20,000 for implementation of a Danville Art Trail. The Virginia Commission for the Arts is giving $7,500; the Danville Regional Foundation, $7,500; and Danville Regional Medical Center, $5,000.
» accept a grant of $49,629 to complete phase II of the Riverwalk-Riverside Drive Trail. This phase includes the construction of a pedestrian bridge over Sandy Creek.
» approve a bonus for city retirees. The approval came on a 6-2 vote, with Council members Buddy Rawley and Fred Shanks voting against approval. Councilman John Gilstrap abstained because he is a former city employee.
» reschedule the meeting set for Tuesday, Oct. 7, to Thursday, Oct. 9. The change is due to a schedule conflict with the annual conference of the Virginia Municipal League.
Council failed to approve a request by the Economic Development Authority of the city of Lynchburg for support of issuing hospital revenue bonds to assist Centra Central Health and Centra Medical Group to build an ambulatory medical center at 414 Park Ave. in Danville. The request failed for lack of a motion from any council member.
In addition, council held a first reading on several matters. Those matters included:
» accepting $142,074 in federal and state money to provide public transportation improvements for persons with disabilities..
» accepting a $10,781 grant from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles to pay for extra duty police personnel to conduct driving under the influence and license checkpoints and to purchase field breath testing units and related supplies.
» accepting a $12,732 grant from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles to pay for extra duty officers for the enforcement of speeding ordinances and for radar equipment purchases..
» accepting a $200,514 in grants to provide transportation services for senior citizens, age 60 and over, residing in the city.
A first reading provides public notification that the matter is being considered. Council must wait until its Sept. 16 meeting at the earliest to vote on accepting the money.
Council was scheduled to hear an appeal of the decision of the Commission of Architectural Review regarding installing vinyl replacement windows at 1045 Main Street. However, the item was pulled from the agenda.
Following the business session, council reconvened in a work session for less formal discussions. Work sessions are conducted in the fourth floor conference room of the Municipal Building.
In the work session, City Council discussed the latest monthly financial report. The report shows revenue this year is comparable to the previous fiscal year. Collection of delinquent real estate taxes are ahead of the amount budgeted. Sales and meals tax revenue also are ahead of budget. Lodging tax revenue is almost identical to the prior year at the same point.
Economic Development Director Telly Tucker provided an update on activity. Tucker said Sky Valley Foods is on track to open later this year in the Airside Industrial Park. The company is relocating its operations from Yanceyville, N.C., to Danville.
Tucker also said the River District Tower project has secured the tax credits needed to move forward with plans to transform Dan River Mills’ former research building at 109 Main St. into a medical facility, restaurant, and business offices.
He also said Noblis has announced a recruiting campaign to hire additional workers by the end of the year. The campaign will bring employment at the facility on Bridge Street from three employees to 15. With 15 employees, the company will meet the agreement it signed in exchange for receiving financial incentives to locate in Danville. Noblis operates the Cray supercomputer in Danville.
River City TV broadcasts all business sessions. Video archives of council business sessions also are available at www.rivercitytv.org. Work sessions are not televised or recorded on video.