Preservationists Push for Spot Blight Program in Danville - WSET.com - ABC13

Preservationists Push for Spot Blight Program in Danville

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Reporter: Sarah Bloom l Videographer: Nick King

Danville, VA - Southside preservationists hope a Lynchburg program might act as a model to revitalization efforts in Danville.

Lynchburg's Spot Blight program has rehabilitated about 140 properties in the last decade. Sometimes they even buy properties and resell them to someone willing to do fix the home. It's an idea folks in Danville hope might save a bit of their history too.

"The blight issues that we have in the city is one of the top priorities of the city and city council," said Council member Larry Campbell. "We are very concerned about the image of our community that we can entice more industry within our community."

Recently, the city has taken to tearing down some blighted properties, but preservationists say- not so fast- homes like this one can entice new industry too.

"We don't' want to do it at the expense of our historic resources," said Sonja Ingram, a Field Representative for Preservation Virginia. "We have some of the most beautiful architecture in the entire state."

The preservationists sent a letter to Danville's City Council, asking them to consider starting a program similar to Lynchburg's Spot Blight Program. It's a program preservationists here say protects historic structures and streetscapes while combating blight.

"They have proven to be successful in doing those three things and Danville is in desperate need of some sort of program," said Ingram.

"It saves the tax base of the inner city. Vacant lots have no value, produce no taxes, and cost taxpayers money," agreed Susan Stillwell, a Historic Specialist Realtor.

"It's a tough spot but we have to look at the bottom line as the beautification of our city. I am for preserving the history, the structures of community. The question is what will be the price of getting those things done," said Campbell.

Council members plan to sit down with preservationists next month to hear more about the possibility of a program like Spot Blight.

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