Town Council chooses DMP projects to advance with ARPA funding

In a traditional process, a long-range plan – such as the Downtown Master Plan (DMP) Update – would be adopted with the expectation that its policies, programs and conceptual projects would be implemented over many decades and as funds become available. The original DMP was adopted in 1986 and implemented over three decades.

Unique to this effort, the Town has an allotment of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) grant funding that can be used to advance one or two projects in parallel with the long-range plan development process. At its Study Session on June 16, 2022, the Town Council considered a technical analysis of three candidate projects identified in the Draft Downtown Master Plan (DMP) for ARPA funding.

As part of its deliberations, the Town Council took into consideration the main messages from the nearly 1,500 community survey responses, which included a desire to focus on Hartz Avenue, provide more outdoor gathering spaces that are not associated with restaurants, more lighting, and additional traffic safety measures to slow vehicle speeds.

In addition, the Council recognized that the selected project must be of a limited size and scope so that it can be completed within a time frame stipulated by ARPA funding requirements.

After careful consideration of community feedback and ARPA constraints, the Town Council provided consensus direction to advance a portion of Project B (Theatre Plaza) and Project D. Combined, these two project components would activate the Arts District and construct raised intersections and sidewalk bulb-outs at key intersections along Hartz Avenue. This project would achieve key community objectives:

  1. Reduce vehicle speeds
  2. Enhance pedestrian safety by shortening the crossing distance at key intersections.
  3. Advance an age-friendly strategy identified in the Danville Age-Friendly Roadmap by elevating the intersection to the level of the sidewalk.
  4. Enlarge the public plaza at the intersection of Hartz and Prospect Avenues for community gathering and recreation programming.
  5. Add specialty art lighting at these new intersection bulb-outs to enhance pedestrian level lighting.
  6. Create a flexible pedestrian plaza space in the Arts District activating the underutilized between the Town Meeting Hall and Village Theatre.

The project is summarized on Slides 40-42 and an example of a raised intersection is shown on Slide 15 of the presentation.

In the upcoming months, the Town will pursue two paralleling actions. The first is to complete the updated DMP document which will contain long-range goals, policies, programs and projects. The second is to further design and develop Project D.

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