About the Region
Founded along the beautiful Dan River along the southern boarder of Virginia, Danville has a long history of innovation, thriving industry, and connectedness. Named Danville in 1793, the location along the river proved a significant benefit to the town, as the water power from the falls enabled innovation in tobacco and textile processing. A strong force in the economy, Danville soon had the railroad at its door, and it's proximity to several major interstates provided easy transportation of goods up and down the the northeast corridor.
The history of the thriving economy is written all over Danville. From the large, sturdy brick warehouses, to Millionaire's row- the Victorian mansions built by the previous leaders of industry in the area- everywhere you look you can see the markers of a thriving place to live, work, and play. Though tobacco and textiles no longer dominate the economy, Danville is finding new ways to connect to the current economic forces and revitalize itself.
Connectedness is still a theme for Danville, and the Amtrak service, proximity to interstates, and the easy drives to Richmond, VA, Washington D.C., and Research Triangle Park, NC are still important aspects of living and working here. But there's more. Through a major revitalization project, Danville is connecting work to quality of life. Re-envisioning brick warehouses into beautiful living spaces with commercial space below. A science center in an old train depot, a large concert venue, an art museum, a dog park, and a large farmer's market are only the beginnings of what you will find here to make life in Danville a warm, inviting one.
With the history of embracing innovation, Danville becomes an excellent place to work as well. The energy and possibilities abound here. By aggressively attracting new businesses to the area, the community of other entrepreneurs and small business owners allows for the business community to support one another as well. Embracing the fresh and new, and celebrating innovation and possibilities makes this place the place to launch your new venture.
Our Region: Statement from Mayor Alonzo Jones - July 27, 2018
“In recent days, the Danville community has garnered considerable attention across the commonwealth of Virginia, as well as national attention. Our focus is on moving forward. We have developed strong public and private partnerships and, together, we are planting seeds that are yielding big results. We invite everyone to visit Danville to see what is taking place. Enjoy our award-winning River District, which features specialty stores for shopping and multiple restaurant and entertainment options. Take a walk along our Riverwalk Trail or enjoy our parks and open spaces. Speak with the business owners. You will learn that Danville is a great place to do business. Every city faces challenges, and we are aggressively addressing them. We are confident in the path we have charted and excited about our future.”
- Danville’s unemployment rate was 5.4 percent in May, which is the latest figures available. This rate is the lowest for the same month in more than 25 years. Five years ago, the May rate was 10.3 percent. Eight years ago, the May rate was 13.5 percent.
- The City has accelerated economic development through international recruitment and nurturing of existing businesses. As of today, there are 11 companies with eight different foreign headquarters operating in Danville or just outside the city limits.
- Earlier this year, Danville was recognized internationally by FDI Intelligence as one of the Top 10 micro cities for economic potential.
- The March issue of Site Selection Magazine placed Danville in the top 50 micro cities in economic activity in the nation.
- Earlier this year, Danville received the Virginia Economic Developer’s Association Community Economic Development Award for workforce development programming. The award recognized the creativity of the programs and the multiple partnerships in place. Those partnerships include the City of Danville, Danville Community College, Danville Public Schools, the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research, Pittsylvania County and Pittsylvania County Public Schools.
- Danville this week hosted the national the 2018 HAAS Americas CNC Educators Training Conference. More than 200 leaders in the automation and machining field from around the country spent this week in Danville learning about the workforce training partnerships that were created here and now serve as a model for other localities.
- There have been four new industry announcements and four expansions in the region in the last two years.
- Through the City’s partnership with The Launch Place, 13 new high growth and tech entrepreneurial startups have been announced in the last four years.
- The City continues to make investments for future growth. The former Dan River Inc. White Mill building is one example. The Danville Office of Economic Development recently was awarded a $25,000 feasibility grant from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development’s Virginia Main Street program to develop a conceptual site plan for the building. The four-story textile mill building is part of the city’s historic district, and developers will be eligible to take advantage of federal and state historic rehabilitation tax credits, as well as New Markets Tax Credits and other creative financing tools.
- Danville is in its eighth year of implementing an award-winning redevelopment plan for the River District, which encompasses downtown and the adjoining historic tobacco warehouse district. This development plan has produced a more than three-fold return on investment, with $35 million in public seeding and investment and nearly $150 million in private investment. Four public streetscape phases are now complete and buildings continue to be repurposed for residential units and for locating, starting or growing businesses, including retail shops and restaurants.
- The City is focused on reducing violent crime. Gang and youth services task forces have been established. A youth services and gang violence prevention coordinator has been hired. The police department has been working to positively impact the quality of life for residents by increasing community engagement. Since February, the police department has hosted monthly “community engagement walks” in neighborhoods across the city to build trust and effectively engage our residents in the problem solving process. A newly created Community and Youth Engagement Unit has partnered with other community stakeholders in weekly youth engagement events and recently graduated 40 city youth from the first-ever Summer Youth Police Academy. The police department has worked tirelessly with federal and state law enforcement partners to address the issues of both gang and gun violence. In June, 20 violent gang members were indicted on federal charges. As of today, the city has experienced a 50 percent reduction in homicides in 2018 versus the same period a year ago.
- Danville Parks and Recreation currently maintains 18 parks totaling more than 922 acres, 30-plus miles of continuous single-track mountain bike trails, 17 athletic fields, 26 playground units, a high ropes course, a zip line, more than 26 picnic shelters and picnic sites, four recreation centers, and 11.7 miles of paved walking trail along the Dan River called the Riverwalk Trail. The Anglers Ridge and Dan Daniel Mountain Bike System was ranked one of the best in Virginia, according to www.SingleTracks.com. Plans are being developed for a future riverfront park that will include a spray plaza, observation pier, covered stage and lawn area, promenade, playground and white water course.