We were thrilled with the attendance at our virtual event held on February 23, 2021, which was hosted by CentreWorks. There were more than 90 people in attendance for the on-line event and everyone had the chance to share their ideas about how to make downtown Danville more welcoming, vibrant and inclusive during six concurrent breakout sessions.
We have tabulated those ideas, all 438 of them, and organized them as best we could into related topics. You can find the full list below, but here are some of the key takeaways:
- 68 comments related to downtown streets and sidewalks:
- 24 calls for improved walkability
- 17 calls for improved safety, including improved lighting and slowing traffic
- 7 calls to improve bike access and safety
- 15 calls to add benches, more seating for dining (several kudos for new bumpouts!)
- 5 calls to restore 2-way traffic and improve parking;
- 56 items fell into a “general” category, including greater community involvement, support for the Heart of Danville, free wifi, promoting fitness, no trash bins on Main, and a number of suggestions for changes to city policies;
- 50 suggestions for new retail opportunities and calls for expanded evening hours;
- 45 calls for more downtown dining, including more and diverse restaurants and outdoor dining, with more food trucks along with several suggestions for specialty food, wine, and coffee shops;
- 43 calls for community events, including family-friendly movies, poetry readings, bourbon-themed and holiday-themed gatherings, and international festivals;
- 29 calls for beautification and historic preservation, including more flowers, trees, greenscapes and rehabilitation of our historic buildings;
- 27 calls for more public art downtown, from murals to gallery hops;
- 27 calls for downtown access to fresh food, including a grocery and expanded farmers’ markets;
- 24 calls for more live music, including local musicians on Constitution Square and weekly drum circles;
- 14 calls for communicating and connecting with young adults;
- 13 calls for making downtown more livable, especially using upper floors as apartments;
- 13 calls for more overnight accommodations and a focus on tourism;
- 11 calls for improved wayfinding and signage;
- 10 calls to promote inclusivity in our downtown;
- 8 calls for a community calendar, one place where all downtown events, promotions and activities would be posted.
Clearly there is much work to be done. The Heart of Danville can keep our community moving, step by step, toward realizing a vision of a vibrant downtown – a place that has a thriving local economy, is rich in character, and features inviting public spaces that make residents and visitors feel that they belong.