Some communities are constructing new downtowns, playing catch-up, because they did not evolve naturally. San Ramon, a growing city with nice parks and neighborhoods, is in the position of creating a city center for its offices that will include retail businesses and an attractive plaza. On the San Jose-Santa Clara border, developers built Santana Row as a fake upscale downtown, which has proven to be wildly successful. But neither place has the charming historic buildings that are in downtown Danville, such as the Shuey-Podva house on the corner of Hartz Avenue and School Street or the Vecki House on Front Street. Not to mention the original train depot on Railroad Avenue, which serves as the Museum of the San Ramon Valley.
Danville has retained its original downtown, first settled on Front Street next to the San Ramon Creek. The action shifted to Hartz Avenue after John Hartz subdivided these plots, and the Southern Pacific railroad brought business another block eastward. This makes for three parallel streets for a user-friendly, attractive downtown. Add the Livery shopping center and the stores in between and you have everything you need, from groceries to medicine to clothes - from practical to tres chic.
Danville is doing extensive marketing to make sure residents know they can find everything they need right in their own back yard. And to be sure everyone knows that for every $100 spent in Danville, $45 stays in the local economy, creating jobs and expanding the tax base.
The town's settlers chose the location well, and officials, businesses and residents have kept the downtown viable. Now we can all support the downtown to keep it going strong through the 21st century.