Windows project to help spruce up downtown

Jennifer Bailey|Commercial-NewsDowntown Danville Inc. Board President Amy McKinley poses near a downtown storefront as she talks about dressing up downtown windows as part of an effort to spuce up downtown in preparation of the Fischer Theatre opening next month.

DANVILLE – In only another month, the Fischer Theatre will celebrate its grand re-opening. Downtown Danville Inc. and other organizations seek people to help make downtown look its finest.

“We want to make downtown a true hub,” said DDI Board President Amy McKinley. “There’s already such great steps being made.”

DDI wants to take advantage of that and expand on making downtown a place to welcome those who live here and those visiting the area.

Walking around downtown, McKinley sees wonderful things, such as the flowers outside Vermilion County Title, and new awnings on some buildings. But other parts of downtown and its empty storefronts could use some sprucing up.

She said maybe it’s a door frame that needs painted, ashtrays and alleyways that need to be cleaned up, front entrance areas that need to be swept or planters that could use some flowers.

She said a clean-up week for downtown is being planned for the end of August or first part of September.

“We’ll support them every way we can,” she said about downtown businesses and building owners.

Also, McKinley said window decorations helped make the downtown area more inviting around the holidays and a committee has planned its first Dressing Up Downtown project to welcome Fischer Theatre-goers and others downtown that is focused on windows.

A committee including representatives from Vermilion Advantage, Danville Area Community College, Danville Area Convention and Visitors’ Bureau, CRIS Healthy-Aging Center, Vermilion Heritage Foundation, the city, Small Business Development Center and McKinley’s Senior Source has been formed to work on downtown initiatives.

McKinley said they will each share what they are working on relating to downtown and also identify initiatives that can help downtown.

She said they’ve identified about five downtown building windows that could have vinyl wraps to tell about an organization or highlight other positive things going on in the city or about the city. Local artists also can decorate the windows.

The committee is inviting people to help and adopt a window. There could be monetary reimbursements.

Some donations have come in for the project, and the city also hopes to apply some funds that had been earmarked for First Fridays for the sprucing-up efforts.

“It would all be about welcoming people to Downtown Danville,” McKinley said.

She said business and building owners do care about downtown and are taking action. She said this also could spur possible future development downtown.

To adopt a window or to be a part of the Dressing Up Downtown Committee, contact McKinley at amy@seniorsourceconsulting.com or DDI board member Carol Nichols at cnichols1@dacc.edu.

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