Second in a multi-part series: City leaders reflect on economic development

Published 2:14 pm Thursday, July 13, 2023


With the current Danville City Commission having served for six months, Mayor James J.H. Atkins along with commissioners Donna Peek and Jennie Hollon reflected on what the commission has accomplished this year as well as what’s ahead.

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Economic development is an important issue for all citizens of Danville. The Danville-Boyle County Development Corp. is a joint organization between the local governments of the county and numerous other entities in the county that all share the same goal of brining economic development to the county. Atkins and Hollon both serve on the board of directors of the DBCDC.

“The Economic Development Corporation is going well and meeting monthly,” Atkins said. “The city has decided to fully fund them, they have three full-time employees now. The city has membership on the board. The Economic Development Authority has moved a bit slower. With elections we lost some members, but I have been trying to get it back up and functioning. You have to let people understand what the EDA is all about. It is for researching and finding land for acquisition. Economic development has to be a seamless process. The EDA and EDC have to work hand in hand. We also have our funders, our partners who have made a financial commencement to economic development in this community. We have to keep them involved and give them input. It is a slow process.”

Atkins emphasized the growth of small bushiness in the county since the end of the pandemic.

“It is amazing coming out of Covid all the small businesses opening in this town,” Atkins said. “We are getting a Drake’s, Chick-fil-A is coming to town and expected to open before Christmas. We have invested into the art community, Danville may become The Glass City of Kentucky. We have tore down the old fire station and would love for someone to come forward with a plan for that lot. There are more and more reasons for people to come to Danville. The government can’t do those things but it can provide opportunities for investors.”

Hollon believes that retaining first responders is a key part of strengthening the local economy.

“Campaigning one of the biggest issues we heard was paying our first responders well so that we are not losing our police and fire fighters to other cities,” Hollon said. “Expanding utilities for economic growth is also key. I just like to ask people what they are looking for. They say they want water, their roads fixed, good police, their trash picked up. The basics.”

Peek reiterated the importance of infrastructure and thinks that improving recreation will make Danville attractive to investors.

“We need to fix our potholes and raise man hole covers to fix our roads,” Peek said. “For bigger projects parks are going to be huge. Hopefully the commission can have a parks meeting that will set a path forward for the parks. If you look at the splash pad it is busy everyday. We have to make things better for all of Danville.”