RDA Press Releases

RDA is a 2023 a Great American Main Street Award Semifinalist

RIVER DISTRICT ASSOCIATION ANNOUNCED AS 2023 GREAT AMERICAN MAIN STREET AWARD SEMIFINALISTS

One of Eight Organizations Recognized for Excellence in Transforming Downtown Districts

Danville, Virginia, September 21, 2022 – Main Street America has announced The River District Association (RDA) as a 2023 Great American Main Street Award (GAMSA) Semifinalist. This prestigious award is the nation’s top award recognizing communities for their excellence in comprehensive preservation-based commercial district revitalization. A jury of professionals and leaders in the fields of community and economic development and historic preservation convened to review a nationwide pool of applicants. After thoughtful deliberation, the jury unanimously selected eight semifinalists that demonstrate exemplary use of the Main Street Approach™ to lead community-based transformation strategies in their downtowns.

The 2023 GAMSA Semifinalists are:

River District Association – Danville, Virginia

Denison Main Street – Denison, Texas

Downtown Florence Main Street – Florence, South Carolina

Metuchen Downtown Alliance – Metuchen, New Jersey

Mills 50 Main Street – Orlando, Florida

Ruston Main Street – Ruston, Louisiana

Downtown Sheridan Association – Sheridan, Wyoming

Downtown Sykesville Connection – Sykesville, Maryland

“The Great American Main Street Award is the highest honor that we grant to organizations within our network,” said Hannah White, Interim President and CEO at Main Street America. “We are proud to recognize RDA and seven fellow organizations as 2023 GAMSA Semifinalists for their excellence in transforming their downtown districts through strategically implemented economic vitality, design, promotion, and organization initiatives.”

From small towns with traditional downtowns to commercial corridors within larger cities, the 2023 GAMSA represent the diversity of the Main Street America network and the power of the Main Street Approach™. Semifinalists have generated over $872 million in local reinvestment, helped open 863 net new businesses, facilitated the creation of 4,706 net new jobs, catalyzed the rehabilitation of 1,922 historic buildings, and leveraged 178,452 volunteer hours.

RDA Executive Director Diana Schwartz says, “We are very grateful for the team at the National Main Street center for recognizing the hard work that has been done in the River District for the past decade. We are thrilled to be selected once again as one of 8 semifinalists nationally.  This is a very prestigious honor that I hope will help our long-term residents recognize that Danville is nationally recognized as a model for revitalization. We look forward to the continued success of our downtown that will illuminate a bright path to move forward and share the improvements and opportunities to all areas of our city and our region.”

The 2023 Great American Main Street Award winners will be announced at the Opening Plenary of the 2023 Main Street Now Conference in Boston, Massachusetts on March 27, 2023.

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ABOUT THE GREAT AMERICAN MAIN STREET AWARDS

The Great American Main Street Award program recognizes communities exemplifying the use of the Main Street Approach™ to revitalize commercial districts. Winners are selected from a nationwide pool of applicants by a jury of Main Street professionals and leaders in the fields of community and economic development and historic preservation. Since the award’s inception in 1995, over 100 Main Street programs have been honored as GAMSA communities. For more information, visit mainstreet.org.

ABOUT MAIN STREET AMERICA

Main Street America leads a movement committed to strengthening communities through preservation-based economic development in older and historic downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts. For more than 40 years, Main Street America has provided a practical, adaptable, and impactful framework for community-driven, comprehensive revitalization through the Main Street Approach™. Our network of more than 1,200 neighborhoods and communities, rural and urban, who share both a commitment to place and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development. Main Street America is a nonprofit subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. For more information, visit mainstreet.org.

ABOUT RIVER DISTRICT ASSOCIATION

The River District Association (RDA), formerly Downtown Danville Association, was formed in 1999 to coordinate efforts to revitalize the downtown Danville, Virginia community, now called the River District.  Since 2016, RDA and the City of Danville have enjoyed accredited status under the National and Virginia Main Street Programs; the program and accreditation are recognized nationally as one of the most successful formulas for downtown revitalization. 

 

River District Association rolls out “Start-Up Slam”, giving locals the opportunity to crowdfund money for great ideas

River District Association rolls out “Start-Up Slam”, giving locals the opportunity to

crowdfund money for great ideas

RDA Announces 2022 Dream Launch Award Recipients

RDA Announces 2022 Dream Launch Award Recipients

 

RIVER DISTRICT ASSOCIATION AWARDS OVER $160,000 IN START-UP FUNDS IN THE 2022 RDA DREAM LAUNCH PROGRAM: Five new business and three business expansions on tap for downtown Danville in the coming months.

River District Association celebrates the holidays and community at annual Christmas on the Plaza Event. 

The River District Association is happy to invite the Danville Community to its annual holiday tree lighting event, Christmas on the Plaza on December 3rd from 5-9 pm. 

River District Association encourages holiday cheer and shopping local with Holiday Gift Guide, Shop Small Saturday, and Window Decorating Contest.

The River District Association (RDA) is proud to announce they have once again been selected for the American Express® Neighborhood Champion Program.  Small Business Saturday was created by American Express in 2010 and celebrates the impact small businesses have on communities across the country while reminding us all to Shop Local this holiday season.

RIVER DISTRICT ASSOCIATION SEEKS COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION FOR THE 2021 “HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS” TELEVISION PRODUCTION

RIVER DISTRICT ASSOCIATION SEEKS COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION FOR THE 2021 “HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS” TELEVISION PRODUCTION

RDA opens registrations for the 2022 Dream Launch Bootcamp

River District Association announces RDA 2022 Dream Launch Bootcamp and Pitch Competition now open for registration.

 

Over $250K available to local entrepreneurs that complete the Dream Launch Bootcamp.

DANVILLE VA – The River District Association (RDA) is excited to announce that registration has opened for the fourth cohort of the River District Association Dream Launch Bootcamp. This will be the fourth iteration of the RDA Dream Launch Bootcamp; since the start of the program in 2019, over 200 individuals have participated in some or all of the Bootcamp classes.

 

The RDA Dream Launch Bootcamp is for entrepreneurs who wish to learn more about opening, owning, and operating a business in the Dan River Region; the Bootcamp is also open to current businesses that would like to expand as well as those that would like to audit the courses to prepare for potentially opening a business in the future. There is no cost to participate in the Bootcamp.

 

Entrepreneurs or existing businesses who complete all six Bootcamp sessions and plan to open brick and mortar locations in the River District may apply to compete in the Dream Launch Pitch Competition for awards and incentives totaling more than $200,000.  Dream Launch Bootcamp participants that wish to open a business outside of the district are eligible to compete in the Danville Pittsylvania Rev-Up Pitch competition through the Danville Pittsylvania Chamber of Commerce and access more than $100,000 in awards and incentives.

 

RDA is also excited to announce two new partnerships with traditional lending institutions to provide additional access to capital to pitch participants.  Movement Bank is offering the opportunity for 2 grantees to potentially be awarded a line of credit up to $25,000 each, and 2 additional cash awards of $2,000 per grantee.  American National Bank will also continue their work with the program by offering the opportunity for 2 local grantees to potentially access lines of credit up to $25,000 each. (Lines of credit from both institutions are subject to credit underwriting and approval).

 

This year, RDA will offer an additional educational resource for food related businesses in the region.  The Food and Beverage Workshop will be optional for all Dream Launch participants but required for those wishing to pitch specifically to open a food and beverage business.  Panelists from Virginia ABC, Health Dept, and Planning and Zoning Department will be on-hand to provide information needed for business owners in this industry.  Local entrepreneurs with an interest in learning more about opening a food and beverage business are also welcome to attend; this workshop is free but requires separate registration.

 

“The support of Dream Launch on both the local and state level really speaks to the quality of the program and all the partners involved” says Diana Schwartz, Executive Director of the River District Association, “without collaboration with our many partners, the program would not be successful.  We are particularly thankful to our two local lending institutions that have chosen to partner with us; access to capital is the number-one hurdle for most start-ups, and the possibility of accessing an additional $100,000 for local entrepreneurs will go a long way to get our new businesses the assistance they need to be successful.”

 

In addition to the two new partnerships, support for the program has expanded in other ways.  RDA was recently awarded $90,000 Community Business Launch grant from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. The program is also made possible by the financial support of the City of Danville, Danville Regional Foundation, and The Dan River Entrepreneur Ecosystem (also funded by the Danville Regional Foundation).

 

Registration for the RDA Dream Launch program is now open at https://tinyurl.com/RDADreamLaunch2022 or can also be found at www.riverdistrictassociation.com or on the RDA social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn)

 

The River District Association was organized in 1999 as the Downtown Danville Association. In May 2015, the organization was renamed the River District Association to complement the city’s River District brand and is an accredited Virginia and National Main Street Community. The office is currently located at 208 N Union Street, Danville VA.

RDA receives $240,000 in grant funds

River District Association receives $240,000 from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development to invest in River District, North Main Hill 

Download a PDF of this Press Release

Read the Commonwealth of Virginia Press Release

Watch an interview with Diana Schwartz on River City TV

DANVILLE VA – The River District Association (RDA) is excited to announce that the organization has been awarded two competitive grants totaling $240,000 from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) to further assist with their mission to strengthen the regional economy, allowing all to experience Danville’s high quality of life.  These grants have been awarded from a pool of $4.4 Million designated to 33 investment projects across the Commonwealth. 

A $90,000 Community Business Launch (CBL) grant will go towards expanding RDA's innovative Dream Launch Bootcamp and Pitch Competition. In its three years of operation, the Dream Launch program has trained over 200 entrepreneurs and awarded startup or expansion funds to 12 businesses in the district. This is the second time RDA has won funding through this grant program.  Registration to take part in year four of Dream Launch Boot Camp will open the beginning of November 2021.

The DHCD Community Resurgence grant award of $150,000 will go towards North Main Street Business District Revitalization. River District Association, in partnership with the Danville Regional Foundation and the City of Danville Office of Economic Development, will be able to provide services to an expanded footprint including but not limited to business assistance, marketing, façade improvement programs, and place making rooted in economic inclusion that prioritizes the neighborhood’s resident’s ideas and values in economic development decisions.  This expansion of services will lay the groundwork for infrastructure improvement, and will increase access to capital, loans, grants, and training for businesses interested in opening in the North Main Street Business District. 

“We are grateful to our many partners that make programs such as Dream Launch and Commercial District Revitalization possible; without the support of Virginia DHCD, we would not have been able to start the Dream Launch program in 2018.  The program has been instrumental to provide knowledge, connections, and resources to entrepreneurs throughout the region, not just in the River District” says Diana Schwartz, Executive Director of the River District Association, “we did not know we would ever be in a ‘Year Four’ of the program when we began, and certainly it is only through collaboration with our many partners that the program continues to be a success.”

To find out more about the River District Association, or if you have any questions, please visit www.riverdistrictassociation.com.

The River District Association was organized in 1999 as the Downtown Danville Association.  In May 2015, the organization was renamed the River District Association to complement the City’s River District brand and is an Accredited by both the Virginia Main Street Organization and the National Main Street (Main Street America).

RDA adds two new staff members to its team.

DANVILLE VA – River District Association (RDA) is excited to announce that it has added two new people to its downtown revitalization team.  The addition of a Programs and Services Manager, and a Bookkeeper and Office Manager will enable RDA to even more effectively collaborate with the City of Danville and other partners to provide entrepreneurship and business retention programming, and more effective promotion and marketing of the River District.

River District Association launches Downtown Art and Sculpture Tour in River District App: Distrx

River District Association launches Downtown Art and Sculpture Tour in River District App: Distrx

DANVILLE VA – River District Association announces the addition of a Downtown Danville Arts and Sculpture Tour in the River District App: Distrx.  This tour, through walking, photos, and recorded audio, leads participants through the River District to view and learn about sculptures, murals, and other art projects in Downtown Danville.