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Vision Behind Danville's 'River District'

Reporter: Sarah Bloom

Danville, VA - They're buzz words you may have heard around Danville recently. We wanted to find out just what the vision was behind the "River District."

Danville is currently looking for a city planning and development service to help develop this idea.

They want to develop the area from the North Theater to Ridge Street and from the White Mill all the way down to the crossing as a River District.

"Part of what the River District plan is all about is understanding that the river's the heart, it's not the not the boundary, it's not the edge, it's the heart," said Karl Stauber with the Danville Regional Foundation.

So with the river as a focal point, local leaders believe they can rejuvenate surrounding areas like downtown and the tobacco warehouse district. They say making sure they work together will be essential.

"If you get one piece working, and another piece not working, they fight with each other. A place that's going down can pull down, can slow down, can break the place that's speeding up," said Stauber.

As one big plan though, leaders see the River District as an opportunity to grow.

"We'll have foot traffic. People coming down. And then just building out from what we've already had from other investors," said David Parrish, Danville's Deputy City Manager.

The YMCA plans to expand and build on the former Long Mill site facing the river.

"If you think about those 4,000 members," said Sarah Folmar, CEO of the Danville YMCA. "If they visit the Y just twice a week, that's 8 thousand visits not just to the YMCA, but to that area."

It's that vision of what could be here at the River, that local leaders hope will help other businesses take notice too.

"Communities that use their rivers as kind of the basis of revitalization are way ahead of those that either turn their back on it or don't have it," said Stauber.

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