River District Proposal Goes Public - WSET.com - ABC13

River District Proposal Goes Public

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Reporter: Heather Rosenbaum | Videographer: Jonathan Merryman

Danville, VA - The final proposal for the Danville River District went public tonight. And the meeting at the Community Market there was filled with emotion. This is a very big deal for the city's future and everyone has an opinion on what should happen there.

Blocks of revisions carefully outlined the River District and quickly drew the attention of Danville locals.

"I'm very excited. We live right here so I take it personally, it's our neighborhood," said Bobra Robinson, River District Resident.

The plan focused on increasing pedestrian friendly outdoor space in Downtown Danville, as well improving buildings for restaurants, retail, and speciality shops. However, as predicted, Lou's Antique Mall was not included in the recommendations.

"It's very important to understand that an urban design plan is not something you are going to build from tomorrow. The way that it is going to look when it is built is not going to be exactly the way the plan looks, it never is. All you are doing is setting up a vision so that people have something to work towards," said Allison Platt, Urban Planner.

"I don't think any decision has been made 100% on what they are going to do. I don't think I'm going anywhere anytime soon," said Louise Ogden, Owner Lou's Antique Mall.

Phase one of the plot estimated completion in 4 to 7 years, costing the city a little over four million dollars. A focus of this phase is creating a park in place of the Downtowner. Still many had hoped to see this space become a parking lot.

"I like the plan but we need to get some more businesses downtown to open up, we need to get Main Street going. Right now there is absolutely no parking. Parking is a mess," said Jeffrey Seiden, Owner DRAW in the River District.

"It would be a decent sized park, but it would be a dinky parking lot," said Platt.

The thing that everyone can agree...

"We've got to have a draw. Bring people in," said Tim Robinson, River District Resident.

The next step is for the city to determine which parts of the proposal they will follow through with. They will have another public meeting in November to announce their decisions, and we'll be sure to keep you updated on that.

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