An Alamo resident writes with his take on plans to raze Danville’s “West World”-type buildings downtown. Quaint and a local landmark? Or ready for demolition right now?
The Alamo Towne Fool humorists were laughing this morning. If Danville government and the developer wait until January of a future year (to raze the Danville Hotel Wild West buildings downtown), the entire set of buildings will fall down on their own. In good humor, we are asking, “which January?”
Isn’t heritage wonderful? This nonsense was built in 1947 (approx) as a regional attraction to bring visitors to Danville’s business district. Over 60+ years, the county and Danville have done little to truly offer an inviting experience in their business district to regional shoppers. Heritage attitudes maintain outdated retail facilities without anchors to invite regional shoppers.
Thus, this structure along Railroad represents the sad reality of false heritage versus real attraction. Heritage groups continue to distain regional and national anchor retail and hospitality that would attract shopping interests. And who suffers the most? The mom & pop shops have no anchors to bring shoppers to the district and many negatives, including memorials, detracting from shoppers’ interests.
Even Danville neighborhoods, as a majority of Danville residents, do not shop in Danville’s business district. A walk along WC’s North Main shopping will present a similar environment to Danville’s business district. The difference is a major anchor shopping area, as Broadway Plaza, that brings shoppers including Danville’s neighborhoods to this heritage area.
What is the opportunity? The Livery and the shopping plaza to its north need significant redevelopment as the anchor retail, and all the shoddy facilities north to Hartz need replacement as further anchor facilities. Where is the money for replacement and redevelopment? In 2007 through 2009, foreign venture trusts attempted to invest in such projects as partners of local/regional businesses and faced prejudice and false heritage interests by government and supporters. An economic development plan that focused on retail, commercial and hospitality for all Danville’s business district, Sycamore to SRVHS, would invite such monies to return.
It is decay by design and false concepts of economic opportunity. More, it is a great story!
Harald Paul Arthur Balle
Member, CDSI Research Fellowship
Cervato neighborhood CA 94507-1075