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Danville Main Street Program clarified

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By The Staff

I read the article submitted by City Commissioner Tim Royalty with much dismay. His reference to Danvilles Main Street Program should be clarified.

Philosophically, Main Street is a long term solution to revitalization - not a short term fix. The principles of Organization, Design, Economic Restructuring and Promotion were never meant to be a quick fix for downtowns. With a long term commitment, Main Street will improve your city's business climate, quality of life and civic pride. In order for Main Street to survive it takes a lot of work, volunteerism, private investment and public support.

With roughly 198 buildings in Danville's downtown, the vacancy rate is less than 3 percent. Yes, we have about 5 available spaces for new businesses; however our economic profile is quite healthy. Mr. Royalty referenced a failure in the "build it and they will come" attitude. Perhaps Mr. Royalty did not realize the $20 million dollar development has only been open for less than one month. Our parking structure was 99 percent full on the first day it opened; there is a coffee shop, bookstore, surgical center, physician offices also in the development. Yes, we do have two upper story spaces available for anyone wishing to join our progress.

Since 1990, Danville has seen over $162 million dollars invested in the downtown. We have a net gain 532 employees and 120 new businesses. Without Main Street, I am certain our town would be in trouble.

The aforementioned development began as a mere dream of the Main Street Program and should serve as an example for how the organization can work to bring economic development to your community. It was the Main Street Program that assembled the public private partnership, secured over $2 million in grant funds and worked with local leaders to bring it to reality.

Our last survey showed that for every dollar the City of Danville invested into Danville's Main Street Program it produced a $190 return. Main Street takes a "can-do, roll up your sleeves" attitude. After ten years of working in this field, I am confident in saying your return on investment will greatly exceed your expectations.

Julie Wagner

Executive Director, Heart of Danville Main Street Program