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Day: March 7, 2023

Plan Danville Ribbon Cutting Storefront Ceremony Held On Tuesday

Plan Danville is a community planning process to develop the comprehensive plan: a 20-year policy document reviewed every five years and acts as a guide for land use development, zoning, and prioritization for future development. On Tuesday there was a ribbon cutting storefront ceremony for it with video provided by River City TV. You can see the video recording from their Facebook page post on it you can find here.

Official release:

Plan Danville’ storefront now officially open

With the goal of hearing the voices of all residents, business owners and visitors in Danville, local leaders held a ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday for the “Plan Danville” storefront at 206 North Union St. 

The storefront will serve as the central hub for holding conversations about how and where change will occur in the city over the next couple of decades.

“We want everyone involved,” Mayor Alonzo Jones said at the ceremony. “The next time we have this conversation (about planning Danville’s future), we will not have to hear someone say, ‘I wasn’t involved.’ Everyone can be involved.”

“Plan Danville” is a community planning process to develop the comprehensive plan: a 20-year policy document that is reviewed every five years and acts as a guide for land use development, zoning, and prioritization for future development. 

A team of community ambassadors will serve as local grassroots organizers. The team consists of Reese Luck-Brimmer, Felice McWilliams, James Reynolds, Roshay Richardson, Amyia Totten, and Sonya Wolen. They will lead small conversations at the storefront and in neighborhoods over the next several months. 

“Our city is undergoing a remarkable resurgence,” Jones said. “Nearly 4,000 jobs have been announced in the region since 2018. Those numbers include the resort casino under construction. We are confident that more jobs are on the way. More than ever, change is coming. So, this is the time for a plan like this.”

City Manager Ken Larking thanked the members of the City Council for their support of the “Plan Danville” planning process.

“What I am excited about this plan is that we are putting it into overdrive.” Larking said. “We know there is a lot of change in our community that we are experiencing now. We know there is a lot of change to come. So, we want to make sure that we did the very best we could when it comes to a comprehensive plan.”

He added, “When we make a plan, and execute that plan, then we can really dictate what our community looks like over 10 to 20 years.”

Larking cited the redevelopment in the River District as an example.

“About 10 to 15 years ago, the community started talking about what it could do to improve its downtown,” he said. “There was a plan that was made in about 2010. Here we are years later, and if you think about what our River District looked like then, and what it looks like now, then you can see how carefully designing a plan with community input, and executing on that plan, can make a true difference.”

Public investment of $52 million in the River District has resulted in $310 million of private investment.

“That is outstanding for a decade of work,” Larking said. “What we are trying to do is replicate that throughout the city. This comprehensive plan will touch every neighborhood and every business area of the community.”

Larking said resources that were not available before will now be available to implement change for a better Danville for everyone.

He also talked about the community engagement that will take place as part of the process.

“Unlike anything we’ve ever done before, we’ve never had community ambassadors that will be out in the community and going to the hardest to reach people to make sure their voices are heard,” Larking said.

Larking thanked the Danville Regional Foundation for providing a grant to assist in the community outreach effort.

Diana Schwartz, executive director of the River District Association, talked about the history of the storefront and its renovation. North Union Street has been central to entrepreneurship in Danville, first as part of a tobacco history and heritage, and later as the center of black entrepreneurship in the city.

The 206 and 208 North Union Street buildings were constructed in the early 1900s. In the past, these properties have contained tobacco warehouses, furniture stores, a lunch and billiards parlor, a cobbler’s shop, a boxing gym, and an art gallery.

In need of rehabilitation, Danville in 2018 secured $150,000 in a preservation campaign in which Danville competed against many larger cities. The buildings were renovated and now serve as office space, with the River District Association being the primary tenant.


City of Eden Announces Retirement Of Parks And Recreation Director Terry Vernon

The city of Eden, North Carolina put out his announcement yesterday on Facebook:

We have another bittersweet retirement announcement … while we’re so happy for him, we will all miss Terry Vernon tremendously. Terry, our Eden Parks & Recreation Director, has announced that he plans to retire May 1.

Terry has lived in Eden his whole life. He began his career working part time at the Boys Club in 1974-1975 and then left to work full time so he could save for college. After working two years he went to school at East Carolina University where he graduated in 1981 with a degree in Health and Physical Education.

He then came home and was hired by Sam Law, who he credits as having the biggest influence on his career, and worked for 26 years at the Boys & Girls Club. He was then recruited by Andy McBride, who served as Athletic Director for the City of Eden in 2007, to come work in that position upon Andy’s retirement. Terry was promoted to director in 2021.

Houston Barrow, Rockingham County Commissioner, said, “Terry Vernon has influenced generations of children in Eden, NC. I learned the importance of teamwork, fair play, and good sportsmanship under his tutelage. Many of us in the city, including myself, spent more hours each week with Terry than we did with our own parents. I would not be the man I am today without him, and I will always cherish my relationship with Terry.”

Terry said the most rewarding parts of the job are the friendships and relationships he has made, as well as being part of the community. He is thankful to have worked with so many good people in his career.

His proudest accomplishment at the City of Eden was that the youth programs were able to run so long without fees thanks to the Eden City Council. He is very appreciative when someone thanks him for mentoring them as they grew up with at the Boys & Girls Club or at the recreation centers.

One of these people is District Attorney Jason Ramey. Ramey said, “Aside from God and my family, no one had a greater influence on my life than Terry Vernon. Terry sacrificed so much and worked countless hours to make sure that children of Eden, regardless of their background, grew up in a safe environment and could participate in several different sports and fun activities. Through his example, words, and actions, he instilled in us the values of commitment, diligence, discipline, integrity, honesty, and teamwork. Terry is a true servant of the community, and I will always be grateful for how God used him in my life and the lives of thousands of others.”

Terry has been District 8 Director of Dixie Youth Baseball for Rockingham, Caswell and Person Counties for over 20 years and has been involved with multiple State Tournaments here in Eden at Freedom Park. In his spare time Terry announces ballgames at Morehead High School and has been doing that for several years. He has been a volunteer for United Way and volunteers with Meals on Wheels. He is also a member of the Eden Noon Lion’s Club and an Elder of King’s Memorial Baptist Church. He is looking forward to spending more time with his wife Tammy, along with there three adult children and their grandchildren.

As part of leadership training and transition, Assistant Director Ray Thomas will be appointed Acting Director upon the retirement of Mr. Vernon to continue on with continuity and success of the important work of Parks & Recreation Department in fields such as youth sports, senior activities, community centers, and public facilities maintenance.