Riverfront Redevelopment Underway in Danville

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DANVILLE--A new beginning is in store for a section of Danville as work finally gets underway on a project decades in the making.

"I'm going to be honest, I got a little teary eyed last night watching the buildings come down, and not because I'm going to miss the buildings. Honestly, because this has been such a passionate labor of love," said Danville Mayor Scott Eisenhauer.

The idea dates back to the 1960s, but in the last five years the push to redevelop Danville's Riverfront District gained momentum, as the city purchased much of the property and prepared it for regrowth.

Tuesday night, the three buildings that occupied the space were torn down, signaling the start of the work to come.

"A lot of people equate demolition to a negative aspect," said Public Works Operations Manager, Ray Garcia. "Where for us, we look at this as an opportunity to start over."

An opportunity that came at a cost of about half a million dollars, but the mayor says it's an expense that will pay off for the city in the long term.

"Our plan is by putting some public dollars into it, that will then encourage the private investment there's already interest in," said Eisenhauer.

In December, city planners and graduate students from the University of Illinois will present potential plans for what the site could become.

"I think people talk about a conference center and a hotel being built right next to the arena, we've seen some variations of that. I think other people talk about observation towers or recreational offerings," said Eisenhauer.

Whatever proposal is ultimately approved will aim to connect the riverfront to other areas of town, with the goal to have it up and running five years from now.

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