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|Contra Costa County, CA||November 4, 2008 Election|
DANVILLE'S SMALL TOWN CHARACTER
By Newell ArnerichCandidate for Council Member; Town of Danville
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Danville's Old Town exemplifies our 'Small Town Character'The year was 1982 with exciting ideas abound in the newly incorporated community of Danville. A community with a long history was moving towards the 21st century with great care and thoughtful guidance by its citizens. The vision included a town square, community center and the finest library in Contra Costa County. This vision certainly was not what author Tom Clancy describes in his new book in which he refers to Danville as a place to hide out in the 'burbs'. Rather the vision was similar to that which drew Nobel Prize-winning playwright, Eugene O'Neill, to the peaceful Town of Danville and the majestic views of Mt. Diablo.
Traditional planning, in the creation of American towns, often has a town square or a 'main street' as the central focus. In recent times, Danville's main street is Hartz Avenue, the center of old town Danville. Railroad Avenue may have been the main street in the past with its proximity to the local rail line, shipping and receiving facilities. During the early part of the century, Front Street was also a 'main street' scattered with automotive repair shops. Local businesses dotted the downtown area, intermixed among residential homes. The first Town Council and citizen's organizing committee set forth a long term plan to create a Town Square and replace our aging library. That reality was carried on by successive Councils and the New Library, Town Square and Community Center was dedicated in August of 1996.
Danville's downtown and various shopping centers are mostly made up of locally owned businesses and locally owned franchises. These are the very businesses we go to ask for help with that school auction, fund raiser event or to sponsor a community activity. The 'local' store is becoming a rare commodity in the ever expanding global economy. National chain stores are more common place in most communities. Stores, whether local or national, exist based on the success of selling their goods and services. Often times, fellow residents ask why the Town allows national chain stores to come to Danville. In truth, only property owners and landlords can determine their tenants. The Town only has discretion over stores that require a use permit such as a fast food restaurant.
The real success of our local businesses is entirely in our own hands. We have a choice where to shop and in a manner that allows us to personally get to know the owner. In our traditional town, with its Town Square and great civic facilities, we have all the ingredients that make up the classic small town. Precisely what we want our community to be is a direct reflection of our own actions. We determine our community's business make-up by our shopping habits. Clearly, not all consumer needs can or should be completely met in any one community. The character of our community is made up of high quality restaurants, specialty shopping, and basic services. Those people who shop in Danville are the ones that really determine the business character of our Town.
Through good planning, such as the redevelopment of the North end of downtown, the Council can assist in providing the framework for high quality environments. In areas such as this, the Council is considering asking for volunteers to serve on citizens' advisory committees charged with evaluating changes and needs in Danville. There are many wonderful areas and places to visit in Danville, we hope you will take the time to enjoy them all.
Position Paper 2
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