More properties under development in River District

Posted by Danville River District News on July 10, 2017
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Two new projects were approved by the River District Design Commission recently, and while details have not been released, this adds two more properties to those under development in the district.
The 9,900-square-foot former warehouse at 534 Bridge St. has been approved for signage, but only for size and placement. The drawings submitted by Jeff Bond, of Solex Architecture, did not disclose the wording that will be used, including the name of the business.
Bond did not return calls asking for details on the project.
Corrie Teague Bobe, assistant director of Danville’s economic development department, said the commission also approved removal of some vinyl on the exterior of the building and replacing it with metal.
According to city records, the building is owned by Thomas and Margaret Hardy, of Danville.
Another building getting attention is at 301 Lynn St., which is being developed by Earthmark Development — the same group that renovated the Smiths Seed Building next door.
The building has been ordered to be demolished, but Stephen Staats, of Earthmark Development, was at the commission meeting to get permission to turn the property into a private parking lot for an upcoming project. A second building on the property — a former prizery — will not be demolished.
The brick and granite from the demolished building will be used to create walls for the parking lot, Renee Burton, senior planner for the community development department, said.
She also noted that Earthmark Development was applying for historic tax credits on the project, and the state Department of Historic Resources required the “footprint” of the building to be used for enclosing the lot, as well as the reuse of original materials.
Staats did not return a call from the Register & Bee for information about the project.
Denice Thibodeau reports for the Danville Register & Bee. Contact her at dthibodeau@registerbee.com or (434) 791-7985.

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Danville bike share almost ready to roll

Posted by Danville River District News on July 06, 2017
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Bicycles should be available for rent in the River District and other parts of Danville later this month, according to city officials.
The bikes have arrived and are being assembled at Bicycle Medic.

Danville Parks and Recreation Director Bill Sgrinia said he hopes the city’s new bike share program will be up and running — with bicycles available at locations in the River District and other areas — in about two weeks.

There will be five racks holding five bikes each to start, Sgrinia said. Rack locations will be at Main Street Plaza, the Crossing at the Dan (with two racks), Dan Daniel Memorial Park trailhead, and the area behind Biscuitville on Riverside, he said.

The first hour of use per rental will be free, with a possible charge of $3 per subsequent hour, Sgrinia said. The free first hour offers a strong incentive for people downtown to be physically active. The idea is to promote health and wellness, Sgrinia said.

“We want to encourage people to use the bikes,” Sgrinia said.

Users would create an account and rent the bikes by entering a credit card number through an app, “Zagster.” It can also be downloaded online at zagster.com.
The app will show where bike stations are located.

Danville City Council approved the proposal for the bike share program in February. The annual cost for the program will be about $45,000.
The cost for the program’s first year was proposed to be paid for with a transfer from unallocated money from the special revenue fund.

City officials are seeking sponsorships to help pay for the program, Sgrinia said. Anyone interested in being a sponsor can call Sgrinia at (434) 799-5200.

City Manager Ken Larking said the stations still need to be installed. The city has one or two sponsors for the program so far, Larking said.

The program is not expected to pay for the service, Larking said. City officials hope sponsors pay the bulk of the cost.

“This is a nice addition to our city, the River District and the Riverwalk Trail,” Larking said.

A report released in May recommended safe and continuous bicycle routes and improved conditions for pedestrians in the River District.

EPR, PC in Charlottesville recommended ways for Danville to enhance safety and ease of travel for pedestrians and bicyclists downtown.

The report, presented to City Council in May, proposes changes including traffic signal equipment to guide bicyclists and pedestrians through signaled intersections and bicycle commuter stations featuring parking locations, racks and bicycle maintenance stands providing tools for basic repairs.

The report also recommends safe and continuous bicycle routes in the River District, with “wayfinding” information to major destinations.

“It’s to make walking and biking in downtown Danville more safe,” Drew Draper, principal planner with EPR, said of the report’s recommendations in May. “It’s to complement what the city is already doing.”

The report also recommended public education activities and programs to develop a “more robust” bicycle and pedestrian culture in the city. They could include teaching skills and etiquette for safe bicycle travel and enhance rider safety and confidence.

City residents told consultants Danville has “an underdeveloped bicycle and pedestrian culture,” with drivers “failing to respond safely to bicycle and pedestrian travelers,” according to the report. Also, residents who provided comment expressed a perception of “limited community energy directed to encouraging activities such as bicycling, walking and running,” according to consultants.

EPR also found there is limited “wayfinding” information available to attract visitors to trails, or trail users to other River District destinations.

John Crane reports for the Danville Register & Bee. Contact him at jcrane@registerbee.com or (434) 791-7987.

Salon opens in River District after owner drawn to downtown atmosphere

Posted by Danville River District News on June 28, 2017
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Another new business has joined the growing River District with Snipz Hair Studio holding a grand opening celebration Monday at 326 Main St.
Danville Mayor John Gilstrap welcomed Angel Mac to downtown, noting a drive through the River District inspired her to locate her salon there.
“She was immediately drawn by the atmosphere of this area and knew she had to open her new business in our award-winning River District,” Gilstrap said. “To Angel, the picture of a vibrant and growing downtown area resulted in four words: love at first sight.”
The salon will enjoy a “soft” opening initially, beginning next week, when Mac said she expects all permits and licenses to be in hand.
She said she expects to be fully staffed by the beginning of August. She is a certified cosmetologist and is looking for five others to join her at the salon, which will offer an array of natural and chemical services, including color and relaxers along with the latest haircuts and styles.

Hours will be from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Friday and from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays.
Asked why the early openings, Mac smiled and said, “I’m an early-bird and I like my Saturdays with my children and granddaughter — and, you know, people like getting their hair done early on Saturday.”
Robin Jones, co-owner of Vintages on the Dan and president of the River District Association, commiserated with Mac, noting that working on Saturdays can be tough.
“But it’s our busiest day, so we’re there,” Jones said.
For information about the stylist positions available, or to schedule an appointment, call the salon at (434) 791-4797.
Denice Thibodeau reports for the Danville Register & Bee. Contact her at dthibodeau@registerbee.com or (434) 791-7985.

Marketing efforts for White Mill site ‘encouraging’

Posted by Danville River District News on June 14, 2017
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The Danville Industrial Development Authority officially owns the White Mill property on Memorial Drive, with the final paperwork signed Tuesday morning, Corrie Teague Bobe, assistant director of economic development, said.
The IDA announced its plans to purchase the property for $3 million in March. Danville City Council voted in April to appropriate $1.5 million from the general fund to go to the IDA toward the purchase of the White Mill property, which includes eight parcels. The purchase agreement calls for a first payment this year and a second $1.5 million to be paid in 2017-18.
Also on Tuesday, the IDA met and voted to authorize a post-closing agreement to have the final appraisal done by White Mill LLC, Royal Demo LLC or Gibbs International and to prorate the utility bills for the property.
Bobe said recently marketing efforts for the site have been “encouraging,” and there is money in the budget for the upcoming year to create a master plan for developing River District property along the north and south sides of the Dan River.
Those plans include extending the Riverwalk Trail, creating a water feature in the canal in front of the White Mill and find out what they can do with the enclosed bridge that connected the White Mill to the Long Mill years ago.
Many ideas were spawned for the covered bridge during a Span the Dan project headed by the Danville Regional Foundation in 2013, but those plans were put on hold until funding could be found.
Bobe said the IDA also will have to work with the state’s Department of Historic Resources to reuse the covered bridge in a way that maintains its historical aspects, or it won’t get state and federal tax credit assistance to cover the cost of renovating the bridge.
The massive White Mill building is unlikely to attract a single user, Bobe said.
“We’ll be working on a mixed-use concept,” Bobe said.
Also Tuesday, the IDA approved several actions to move the building of the SGS Kyocera facility in Cyber Park, across the street from the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research.
Those actions included approval of a design-build contract between the IDA and Blair Construction and loan commitment of $3.8 million from American National Bank to finance the project.
A new parking lot of Craghead Street — behind the 500 block and stretching to Lynn Street — also received attention from the IDA, which to create easements between IDA and Rick Barker Properties; to redraw the property lines for 523-523 Lynn St.; and to rework some retaining walls on the site.
Denice Thibodeau reports for the Danville Register & Bee. Contact her at dthibodeau@registerbee.com or (434) 791-7985.

Noblis Announcement

Posted by Danville River District News on June 14, 2017
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