Main Streets 2017: Kentucky
Danville’s Main Street delivers on the promise of a downtown as a place to gather, have fun, and build a sense of community. When this small Kentucky city earned a Great American Main Street Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the accolade “honored the work of volunteers and city officials who came together to rehabilitate and beautify parts of downtown,” says livability.com. “A collective $52 million was spent on renovation and preservation in the 1990s and has paid off with 110 new businesses opening and the creation of more than 300 new jobs.”
Art is a major supplier of downtown’s energy. The Community Arts Center on West Main lives in the city’s original post office, a landmark 1909 structure that was refurbished with much community support in 2004. Now “the epicenter of Danville’s rich and vibrant Arts District,” according to its website, the Arts Center features galleries, studios, and classrooms.
A block off Main on Walnut Street is Centre College’s Norton Center for the Arts, whose two theaters host concerts, dance, musicals, opera and college events. Just around the corner from Main on 2nd Street is the West T. Hill Community Theater, a venue for live local productions.
A vibrant downtown offers an abundance of activities for families, and Danville has some really good ones. Each June, the four-day Great American Brass Band Festival features brass ensembles that “span the widest range of brass styles and performing groups — from historical bands of the Civil War to modern, large-scale brass and wind bands,” says the festival’s website. The event’s signature parade steps off from South Main Street, and the Great American Art Festival, a new component of the event, showcases juried national and regional artists displaying and discussing their work.
Danville also has its summer Lawn Chair Theatre, with family friendly movies in Constitution Square Park, an easy walk from Main Street. And around Halloween time, there’s a performance by the Thriller Zombies on Main.
“Main Street has become a vibrant shopping district in Danville,” says livability.com, and its centerpiece is three connected buildings known as The Hub. A downtown department store for 80 years until 1995, the renovated buildings are now home to Centre College’s bookstore and the Hub Coffee House and Cafe. Stop into the cafe to get ready to explore Main with an organic coffee and some nourishment. You’re going to need it!
All photos courtesy of Downtown Danville