The Dan River and the River District are what distinguish Danville from thousands of other communities competing to attract new residents and businesses. With many of Danville’s oldest, most architecturally attractive and significant buildings, it’s key to our heritage and sense of community. It’s the most important gathering place for community events. The impression both residents and outsiders have of the River District is projected on the community as a whole.
Like so many other old manufacturing towns that have lost their traditional industries (textiles and tobacco in our case), Danville has its challenges, including the River District. Many of its buildings are empty, and it long ago lost its standing as the community’s commercial center. Today, it’s hard to imagine a return to downtown full of department stores, movie theaters, hotels, and packed sidewalks.
But from what we know of the experience of other old manufacturing towns like ours that have experienced economic revival, a strong downtown is essential. And it’s not just about expanding and recruiting businesses there. Many of our major employers tell us that an appealing, active downtown helps them recruit and retain the skilled employees needed to sustain their success. Simply put, a revitalized River District will send a strong message to the world that Danville is “the place to be.” Downtown Danville played this role many years ago. Reborn in a new, modern form, it will do so again!
So what’s our strategy to bring about the River District’s renaissance? It includes five concurrent actions that will be undertaken by the City, Danville Regional Foundation, private investors, and businesses.
- Build on the River District’s strengths.
- Implement public improvements that will stimulate private investment.
- Support transformational commercial projects.
- Achieve the right mix of land uses and activities.
- Enact sensible regulations that preserve the district’s unique character.
It’s important to us all that the entire community is informed about and involved in the rebirth of Danville’s River District. We’re convinced that making the River District “the place to be” for business, community interaction, recreation, and entertainment is important to our entire community’s long term success. It will play a major role in transforming Danville region’s economy and improving our community’s quality of life. We encourage everyone to be a part of the River District’s renaissance!