The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Editorials

July 13, 2014

Downtown remains key

Members of Downtown Danville Inc. say goodbye soon to the group’s director, Dana Schaumburg, as she steps away to pursue other professional opportunities. Shaumburg has done a nice job with DDI, and everyone wishes her luck.

The opening gives DDI members an opportunity to reconsider the group’s goals. The area DDI represents is the city’s core, and its health reflects the health of the community as a whole. Keeping activities going downtown and helping fill its storefronts not only creates a great impression on visitors but serves as a source of pride for the whole community.

DDI members will consider several opportunities for further growth in the area.

The city’s former Renaissance program served an important role in revitalizing the neighborhood just west of downtown’s business district. Bringing that back in some form would only add to the property value involved and continue to breathe new life into older neighborhoods.

The renovation of the vaudeville-era Fischer Theatre remains an important goal. Finding the funding for such a project continues to be a major hurdle, but when completed the Fischer could serve as an attraction in downtown for many years to come.

Disposition of Bresee Tower, the tallest structure downtown, remains in limbo. Again, renovation costs will be expensive — but so will demolition. Some decision on that building’s fate needs to be made soon.

Now that the former Federal Courthouse building has seen its official functions transferred to Urbana, it would be great to see that beautiful building donated to the city and renamed after Danville native and former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Joseph Cannon. There’s a building near the U.S. Capitol that bears his name, but none in his hometown.

Downtown holds many possibilities. The right person — with the help of DDI members and local government officials — can make many of them become reality. And that will benefit everyone in the community.

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