Keep and expand cemeteries, fix sidewalks

August 06, 2004

Dear Editor:

As a native and lifelong resident of Danville, I write about cemeteries and sidewalks.

The City Commission meets behind closed doors to consider selling the land donated to Danville by citizens of Duncan Hill to expand Hilldale Cemetery. Without question, public trust was reposed in the city to keep and maintain this land for the cemetery.

The cemetery itself gets even less public care than highway strips, and this land gets none. The breach of trust by Flip-Flop and crew to deal off this donated and dedicated land on the sly is shameful and displays contempt for Danville's history and disdain of its future.

At the same time, the commission makes no effort to provide for the future of Bellevue Cemetery. Four generations of my family and many of Danville's own are interred in that cemetery. Acreage next to it that was the subject of development plans several years ago (thus now likely obtainable from the same owner) is essential if Bellevue is to be expanded. Danville is already in the cemetery business; that acreage should be pursued now, even if the property is not on a downtown corner or the bypass.


The image of Danville does not depend upon the costly looks of a new fire station on the bypass but sidewalks contribute greatly to that image as well as the safety and convenience of Danville's citizens. Flip-Flop and crew now propose to ditch the city's own budget allocation and its hope for a huge grant to repair and replace sidewalks so as to doll up the bypass fire station. This is the proposal of kids seeking new toys (remember the trolley?) by neglecting basic infrastructure. Such neglect is serious and long-standing: Many sidewalks are traps for the unwary, the halt, the lame and the young as well as for tourists who might be impressed enough by the fire station to stop in and walk around.

Among the worst examples of sidewalk traps is the downtown city park where the flowers are tended but not the bricks.

Also, the sidewalks through town present many traps. This is not to condemn the many old ones with root-raised surfaces, cracks, encroachments and minor spalling, but those with real tooth-chipper gaps (consider the city's bridges over Clark's Run) or dead ends, such as the south end of KSD's western walk, which just ends as a jumping-off place. Anyone on foot or wheel is endangered by these neglected traps while the streets are constantly addressed.

When vehicles park, the occupants become pedestrians. Danville's own use its sidewalks all day and night. All deserve reasonably safe sidewalks and not the latest whimsical notions of the Flip-Flop crew.

The government of this city I love should take care of its living, dead and future by upholding the trust and health imposed upon it by retaining the acreage near Hilldale Cemetery, seeking acreage for expanding Bellevue Cemetery and reviewing all of its sidewalks and infrastructure rather than primping for passersby.

James F. Clay Jr.


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