Support downtown parking structure

November 16, 2003

Dear Editor:

On Nov. 24, the Danville City Commission will make a critical decision with long-lasting impact on the economic health of this community: whether to support the building of a parking garage. It's up to voters to insist they make the right decision.

Year after year, our community has identified the redevelopment of the Hub-Gilcher property as its number one priority because a vibrant downtown is vital to our attempt to bring jobs and industry here. After much study, we know the only way to make that dream a reality is to build a parking structure. Yet three members of the City Commission are refusing to listen to the voters who elected them and to economic development experts who have studied successful communities throughout the nation. Their shortsightedness may squander the money and massive volunteer hours already put into the project by the good people of Danville, the $2.75 million in government grants we have received in recent months and the untold millions we could make in the future by attracting more jobs and more businesses throughout Boyle County.


There are critical reasons Danville needs a downtown parking structure, and we would like to clear up any misconceptions the public may have:

1. Parking is needed for employees, not customers. If you think it's fairly easy to get a parking space while doing errands downtown right now, you're right. But if you're an employee of a downtown business, you probably know that all of the "all-day" parking lots are filled to capacity.

City regulations require adequate parking for any new businesses coming into downtown; businesses are turned away with regularity right now because they cannot "prove" they have enough dedicated parking spaces. The kind of tenant we all want, who will not only pay rent but create jobs, will need sufficient parking for its staff. Existing businesses have committed to filling the rest of the space.

2. Major tenants are interested in the Hub building. Right now, a major tenant that is neither retail nor restaurant would like to use the Hub building for a purpose that would benefit the entire community. But that tenant has a deadline and must know by the end of the month if it will have enough parking. If the City Commission does not act on Nov. 24, we will lose this tenant over parking, the same way we lost EKU by dragging our feet on parking.

3. Taxpayers are not being asked to foot the bill. We have already received $2.75 million in grants for the garage; we are asking the city to issue a bond to pay for the rest. It is essentially the same as co-signing your child's first car loan; the city will use its good credit to help us obtain a loan. Municipal bonds would be sold to investors and institutions and those people would be paid back over time, by the proceeds of the garage. Projections show the garage will pay for itself starting from Year Three onward.

The Chamber of Commerce, the Community Development Council, the Industrial Foundation, the Heart of Danville, downtown businesses, financial institutions, churches and residents all agree that we need and want this parking structure. The time has come for action. We need the public's help to demand that city commissioners support the garage with a vote for a bond issue. We ask every reader to write letters to commissioners and to this newspaper, as well as to show up in person at that critical meeting, Monday, Nov. 24 at 9:30 a.m. at City Hall. We will also host a public discussion and rally inside the Hub building this Monday, Nov. 17, at 5:30 p.m. and will be scheduling tours of the building.

Don't let special interests or shortsightedness take jobs from our community - insist that city commissioners make the right decision!

Julie Wagner

Executive Director

And members of the Heart of Danville

Board of Directors

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