Town focuses on promoting downtown | February 22, 2008 | Danville Express | |

Danville Express

Newsfront - February 22, 2008

Town focuses on promoting downtown

Day of planning concentrates on economic development

by Jordan M. Doronila

The Town of Danville updated its economic development strategy at a goal-setting getaway held recently at San Damiano Retreat in the west Danville hills.

"Every year we look at economic development," said Mayor Candace Andersen. "It's important for the vitality of the businesses in the area that we do what we can."

The Town Council and staff members met Friday, Feb. 1, to discuss Danville's economic strategy, budget and capital improvement projects. The town's role in climate was on the agenda but was pushed back for a later study session in March, said Town Manager Joe Calabrigo.

Calabrigo noted the council and staff discussed developing a campaign that encourages residents to shop in town and they looked at ways to change parking policies to encourage visitors. They also talked about increasing promotion of restaurants for the two weekends during the Ladies Professional Golf Association's tournament and getting involved with more business groups, such as the East Bay Economic Development Alliance.

"The East Bay Alliance collects a lot of empirical data," Andersen said. "We are going to check out what they can offer us."

The group's resources may help Danville improve the town's marketing and economic health, as well as its general fund.

"We are looking at more strategies," Andersen said. "Each year, we ask what we could do more."

"We always have a goal of having more people downtown," she added.

Calabrigo said the town's sale tax numbers are ahead of expectations, even though the national economy is struggling. Additionally, he noted he hasn't seen that many vacancies in retail tenant space, according to commercial real estate brokers.

"From Danville's perspective, this seems all positive," Calabrigo said.

Sales from gas stations and food markets in Danville have increased. Additionally, sales from local department stories have done well. Calabrigo speculated that residents earn a steady income and contribute to the stability of Danville's economy.

"You don't have a lot of people living on the edge," he said. "In other communities, the variables are different. It's much harder."

Calabrigo acknowledged that the sale of homes has slowed and the average home prices have dipped.

Whatever the conditions of the economy, the town leaders believe working together with entrepreneurs breeds success.

"We have a good partnership with businesses and are trying very hard to do what we can to make their job much easier," said Andersen.