Over the last two decades, economic development has become increasingly competitive. Companies looking for a place to locate or expand are demanding a lot in return for the jobs and tax revenues they will provide. Whether looking to build a factory, open a store or restaurant or grow a knowledge-based business, companies want "the whole package" - a capable workforce, economic incentives and a high quality of life.
From our well-trained labor force to the presence of Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center and Centre College to our excellent schools and spacious parks, Danville presents a great combination of factors, except for one thing. The empty shell of the Hub-Gilcher Building, combined with other empty storefronts on Second, Third and Main streets, send people the message our downtown is dying.
We know from studying the successes and failures of cities like ours across the nation that the perception of a downtown in trouble is a deal-breaker for businesses who might invest in Danville. Let's face it: Since the Hub closed in 1995 we have had almost an entire block of buildings vacant, and until that space is filled again, our economic health as a downtown is questionable. Currently, the Hub and many of the other empty storefronts cannot be filled until several hundred parking spaces are added to downtown.