Vets set $3 million goal for hall | September 19, 2008 | Danville Express | |

Danville Express

Newsfront - September 19, 2008

Vets set $3 million goal for hall

Consultant lauds joint efforts of town and community for veterans building

by Geoff Gillette

Plans by the Danville Town Council to put $5 million into the Veteran's Hall may be getting some help from a citizen's committee. At the Sept. 10 meeting of the Exchange Club, members of the Veterans Memorial Building Development Committee of San Ramon Valley announced that they would be embarking on a fundraising effort to bring in an additional $3 million for the project.

Of that, $2 million will go toward the construction; $500,000 to furnish the new hall; and $500,000 as an endowment to pay for programming and operations. It's been estimated that the reconstruction will cost $7 million to $8 million.

At the meeting, consultant John Lind gave members an update on the ongoing plans for the hall, located at the corner of Hartz and Prospect avenues.

Recently Contra Costa County approved the sale of the hall to the Town of Danville for $200,000. Town officials along with the committee have been working on ways to upgrade the outdated facility, with the town laying out $5 million for its renovation.

"It's been here since 1925 and it's seen better days. As our town manager says, it has outlived its useful life," Lind said.

Lind complimented the town on its willingness to work on upgrading and improving the Vets Hall.

"This is the greatest town council you could have." He added, "The town has really stepped up big time."

Many ideas have been tested in determining what to do with the facility, from completely renovating the existing structure, to tearing the whole thing down and building a completely new hall on the site.

Town officials have agreed to help in maintaining the historical aspects of the building. Lind said keeping it in the downtown is something that would also preserve one of the key aspects of the current hall.

"The special thing about the hall is that it's downtown, so when people leave they get to come out to this vibrant downtown area, with all its restaurants and shops."

Lind said the support they have received thus far has been phenomenal. "One of the things that makes this project so unique is the partnership with this new nonprofit group, the town and the county. My experience is these projects work best when the community and government work together."

Fundraising for the hall will be achieved through a combination of efforts that will include a capital campaign, corporate and business donations. Lind said there is no timetable for when they are expecting to raise the $3 million but he is hopeful they can reach their funding goal within two years.