Heart funding cut a mistake

June 02, 2004

Dear Editor:

The decision by Commissioner Ryan Owens, Commissioner Chester Kavanaugh and Mayor John Bowling to cut the Heart of Danville funding has more long-term ramifications than short term. As was stated by Commissioner Gay at the city commission meeting on Monday night, when times are tough, cutting economic development agencies makes no sense. Business recruitment leads to job creation, which leads to increased payroll tax for the city.

The short-term effect of these funding cuts will be eliminating events and eventually closing the office when the money runs out. The long-term effects are much greater and more lasting. When crime drops, do we cut police protection? Danville hasn't had a major fire - do we need so many firefighters on the payroll? Of course we do! These departments are kept strong because we never know when a criminal act or a fire may occur.

The same analogy can be used for downtown. Main Street is typically the first place visitors go when trying to get a feel for a community, not the bypass or the strip centers, both of which are contributors to our community's economic foundation. But, it is downtown that tells the story of a community. Just because things are looking good now, that doesn't mean we have achieved the end all in downtown revitalization and can quit.


We never know when a corporation will visit Danville to consider relocation. We never know when a prospective new resident comes to town for a job interview, just as we never know when a tourist might be passing through. Danville prides itself on our image and our beauty. We are proud our downtown never underwent significant deterioration, as has happened in neighboring towns. Why risk it now? $45,000 from the City of Danville is a small price to pay in order to continue our efforts to maintain the image and quality of life our citizens have come to expect.

The Heart of Danville tries to be good stewards of our public funding. They do everything possible to leverage these dollars to garnish a return that will benefit our local governments and residents. In fact, for every $1 the City of Danville has spent with the Heart of Danville, the return has been nearly $23.

When you take the personalities and agendas out of the mix - the answer is simple. Funding the Heart of Danville makes good economic sense - especially when we have officials who were elected to commission under the platform of job creation and community rejuvenation.

Martha Caywood


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