Downtown Danville could benefit from benches

Published 6:25 pm Friday, November 8, 2019

Several years ago, Victoria and I indulged in a get-a-way to Black Mountain, North Carolina, just beyond Asheville. It is a most interesting town. It has hiking trails, great and plentiful restaurants, funky shops, and access to a variety of nearby attractions.

I was struck, however, by one other thing — handsome benches in the downtown area. They were on the sidewalks. There was at least one in every block, and they were on both sides of the street. We and others found them delightful.

Here are some reasons why benches would be good for Danville as an enticement to come downtown.

  1. They are a great place for shoppers to stop and reshuffle the contents of their bags before moving on to the next shop.
  2. They provide a place for shoppers, especially senior ones, to take a brief breather. The seniors could, of course, go into a restaurant to do that, but they would need to buy food to warrant a seat. That would cost money. Besides, most times it would not be mealtime.
  3. In good weather, people could wait on the benches for a restaurant seat to open up.
  4. Benches allow people watching, a favorite pastime of most of us.
  5. Benches also make possible impromptu conversations as friends happen by and stop to chat a bit.

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The benches in Black Mountain were heavy-duty wooden ones. I don’t know what wood was used. They were similar to the wooden benches on the Centre campus in front of the gym building. Benches can be expensive, I am guessing, if made from some exotic wood like teak, but there are surely less expensive ones that are both sturdy and weather resistant. There are metal benches and ones made from synthetic materials. They are, I am guessing, very long lasting, even if not quite as beautiful as wood. 

People could donate benches in memory of departed loved ones. This is already done at Millennium Park. Also, each corporation might be willing to donate one, as might the shops at the location of the benches.

It seems to me that, given the relatively small outlay of money involved, benches would be well worth a try.

Milton Scarborough