Last week, Main Street America (MSA) named the eight semifinalists for the 2022 Great American Main Street Award (GAMSA). Excitingly, Danville’s River District Association (RDA) was amongst those recognized for their highly successful and innovative uses of the Main Street Approach, and all of us at Virginia Main Street (VMS) are thrilled for them!
“The Great American Main Street Award is the highest honor within the field of commercial district management. These eight semifinalists are shining examples of the kind of transformation that is possible when using the Main Street Approach. These programs have brought renewed vibrancy to their communities and sparked impressive preservation-based revitalization.” – Patrice Frey, President and CEO of Main Street America
Located in the heart of Southern Virginia and on the banks of the Dan River, this Advancing Virginia Main Street (AVMS) community balances small town charm and big city offerings, while providing residents and visitors alike the opportunity to appreciate rich history and culture from the Civil War to Civil Rights. After the centuries-old textile industry in the area collapsed during the 1990s, the community suffered a mass exodus of residents, as people sought new employment. However, RDA has overcome enormous difficulties over the years and transformed Danville into a vibrant, welcoming, 21st-century city. Downtown vacancy has reduced by 36 percent, resulting in 122 net new businesses and 528 net new jobs.
In 2022, Danville is piloting a new program to oversee three Neighborhood Business Districts, which are primarily communities of color that have disproportionately been affected by disinvestment. This exciting new program will further spread the longstanding success and business growth of RDA to new areas!