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River District Plan Outlined

Reporter: Heather Rosenbaum | Videographer: Jonathan Merryman

Danville, VA -- The proposed River District plans are divided up into Phase 1 and 2. Phase 1 starts at Craighead and goes up through the city, and they plan to work on that first.

While the buildings will remain the same, Danville's downtown should soon look a lot different.

"The purpose of the project is make it more pedestrian friendly and to invite more businesses to come downtown and to be able to thrive," said Brian Dunevant, chief engineer for Public Works.

"Cities are often judged in large part by the activity of and appearance of downtown areas We want to invest in downtown," said Arnold Hendrix, public information officer for Danville.

The plan is to make the sidewalks 16 feet on each side, almost double what they are now, so restaurants can have seating outside and stores can display clothing or art.

To make room for those sidewalks, the left turn lane will be removed, giving Main Street a parking lane and one driving lane in each direction.

"It just takes a little getting used to. I think it will be fine, I really do," says Marietta Sanford, a resident.

The proposal for wider sidewalks will end at Craighead to make room for the right turn lane. Bricks around the sidewalk will give it a finishing touch, and an outdated facade will get a make-over.

"They are proposing to possibly remove the planters here, extend the rail both ways and do some type of covering on the wall that would make this look like a different surface than it is," said Dunevant.

"If you can design an area that is friendly to pedestrians you can really help bring in more people and give people something to do in Danville," said Matthew Dykema, a resident.

Officials hope to start the project by late summer of this year. Phase 1 should take 9 to 10 months and should be finished by spring of next year.

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