Editorial: What's the best use of Save-A-Lot site?

September 09, 2003

Next year, the Save-A-Lot grocery, which is currently located in the city-owned property next to Danville city hall, will be moving to Lexington Road where it is has purchased the store and shopping center now occupied by Piggly Wiggly.

Save-A-Lot's departure from downtown is going to leave vacant a substantial piece of real estate. Normally, that would be a matter for the private owners to worry about. But since the Save-A-Lot property is owned by the voters and taxpayers of Danville, everybody's got a right to their opinion about what the building's next use should be (even though the right to decide its best use lies in the hands of the five elected officials who run the city).

Just to get the ball rolling on the discussion, here's a few ideas that occurred to us:

* Speaking of rolling balls, the first use that comes to mind is for a skate park. So far, construction of a park for skateboarders has been stymied by disagreement over a site. The Save-A-Lot property would be perfect. It's downtown where it would be easily accessible to local skaters, and its location near the police station would surely cut down on any vandalism or other mischief that might occur there.


* Along those same lines - recreation, that is - what about a community center? Back when the property was purchased for $440,000 in 1987, Danville had a mayor named John W.D. Bowling whose vision was to put a community center on the site, complete with swimming pool, community room, jogging track, senior citizens center and convention center. When local seniors got tired of waiting for that dream to become a reality and were given a nice site in south Danville, the community center proposal fell apart and the property settled back into its longtime use as a grocery.

Should the mayor try to resurrect his community center idea now? Probably not. Private investors are developing a convention center in the former Lowe's property on Perryville Road, and the McDowell Wellness Center has met the community's need for an indoor pool and fitness facility.

* If the property isn't going to be used for recreation, what about moving the city police and/or fire departments into the building? That would give those departments more space, more parking than they have now and easier access to both Main and Fourth streets. The current public safety building could be torn down to provide parking for the Community Arts Center being developed in the Federal Building - or to provide space for a skate park.

* Another possibility is to just turn the Save-A-Lot property into a municipal parking lot. Surely, combined with the construction of a parking garage behind the Hub-Gilcher property, that finally would free up enough spaces so we'd never have to hear the complaint again that there is no place to park downtown.

If none of the above suggestions are appealing, feel free to make your own. You can e-mail them to our Voice of the People column at or type them in at the Advocate's Web site, Suggestions can be mailed to The Advocate-Messenger, 330 S. Fourth St., Danville, Ky. 40422, or faxed to (859) 236-9566. If you want your suggestion to be published, you have to include your name, address and telephone number for verification purposes. Only your name and town will be printed.

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