DANVILLE — For a little more than half of its existence, about 16 years, Danville Neighborhood Development Manager John Dreher has been involved with Downtown Danville, Inc.
He was first an outside partner with the city starting in 1997. Then he served as a committee volunteer and then as a board member starting about six years ago representing Vermilion County.
He also continues to help administer the façade grants and small business loans program for downtown.
As one who visits other cities and their downtowns, Dreher said Danville has a strong downtown.
“Danville ought to be very proud of its tenacity with the Vermilion Heritage Foundation board and Fischer Theatre,” Dreher said.
People can get discouraged if plans don’t work out, he said.
Downtown also sees businesses come and go; but there are some mainstays too.
Dreher said a downtown focus and Downtown Danville Inc. helps in “keeping merchants operating in the downtown and keeping the downtown as a destination with things you can’t find elsewhere.”
DDI, which promotes the downtown area, is celebrating 30 years this year.
Dreher said looking back 30 years, there is a lot to be proud of downtown.
He adds that other Main Street communities also have come and gone.
There may have been disagreements through the years, but DDI has picked itself up and kept on going, Dreher said.
The important thing is to keep marching along and move ahead a little bit at a time, he added.
Dreher said early boards and directors have maintained the organization “seamlessly.”
There also was a time when the downtown has seen two or three times the first-floor vacancies, he said.
To celebrate DDI’s 30 years, there will be a celebration for downtown building and business owners and their employees. It is invitation only.
The event will be similar to a downtown business after-hours event. It will be from 4-7 p.m. Oct. 30. Reservations are required.