Virginia Dept. of Conservation and Recreation gives $740,000 to Danville for Riverfront Park construction

Southside Virginia News

(Photo: Courtesy City of Danville Office of Economic Development)

DANVILLE, Va. (WFXR) — Danville officials announced Thursday that the River City has received $740,000 from the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation for construction of the Riverfront Park, which will be located next to the White Mill on four acres of the former Dan River Mills property.

With the addition of the $740,000 in funding, the City of Danville says public and private sources — including foundations, businesses and corporations, and individuals — have raised a total of $7.2 million.

Included in that $7.2 million is a $4 million challenge grant from the Danville Regional Foundation. On Tuesday, May 18, officials say the Danville City Council adopted a budget for the next fiscal year setting aside gap funding up to $4 million, which will allow construction bids to be sought this fall.

However, you can still contribute to the park by calling the Danville Parks and Recreation Department at (434) 799-5200.

“I am thankful to Delegate Danny Marshall for introducing an amendment to the state budget to help pay for the Riverfront Park and to Senator Frank Ruff for supporting it in the Senate,” Mayor Alonzo Jones said on Thursday, May 20. “The park will be a great amenity for the people of Danville and the region.”

Bill Sgrinia, director of the Parks and Recreation Department, says he is thankful for the Commonwealth’s support and recognition of the Riverfront Park’s significance to the work that has been already been done by the city’s public and private sectors.

“The Riverfront Park is a true regional park that is being designed as the premier downtown public space,” Sgrinia said. “It is hoped that quality public spaces like this will continue to spur future investment. We greatly appreciate our state level officials championing this effort.”

The park — which is currently in the fundraising and engineering phase — will feature an urban splash pad doubling as an artistic fountain, a small performance area, a river overlook, a custom playground area, and river access.

Even though the original cost estimate for construction was $10.1 million, Sgrinia says material and labor costs have risen, so that figure could go higher.

The current timeline has construction slated to begin in spring 2022 and end in the spring or summer of 2023.

Besides construction of the Riverfront Park, the Parks and Recreation Department is set to oversee plans for a whitewater channel, the restoration of the mill bridge, and the extension of the Riverwalk Trail on river’s south bank in front of the White Mill building.

The whitewater channel will use much of the old canal system visible in front of the White Mill. It is being designed to allow control of the amount of water coming through the canal, which will make it appropriate for tubing, whitewater paddling, competitions and river rescue trainings.

The mill bridge that crosses the river from the White Mill building to the former Long Mill site will be converted to a pedestrian bridge to connect the Riverwalk Trail on the north and south banks of the river. The Industrial Development Authority will use grants to abate asbestos and lead paint and remove the bridge’s metal panels.

An easement over approximately 1.12 acres of land fronting the Dan River will allow for the extension of the Riverwalk Trail.

City of Danville

However, these projects are not included in the construction cost estimates for the Riverfront Park, the city says.

You can watch a video of the Riverfront Park rendering here.

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