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The Danville Redevelopment and Housing Authority (DRHA), along with Opportunity Neighborhoods, an initiative of Danville Regional Foundation (DRF), announces that a grant of up to $550,000 has been awarded by DRF to construct a 6,000-square-foot Community Learning Center on property near Cardinal Village in Danville.
The total cost of the project is estimated to be $1,443,000 with $667,000 being provided by DRHA and $175,000 contributed from the City of Danville. A remaining $51,000 still needs to be raised to complete the build and an additional $50,000 is needed to furnish and outfit the facility.
DRHA will own and operate the new community learning center and it will serve the youth and families of Cardinal Village and the surrounding neighborhood. There will be four offices, a library/computer room, commercial kitchen, exercise room and 2,000 square foot of recreation space.
“This facility is a result of many partners from many different sectors working together to make this a reality,” said Gary Wasson, the CEO and executive director of DRHA. “This is evident by how the building will be used. Space will be occupied by community healthcare workers, the Church-Based Tutorial Program and a mental health support agency.”
The project completion date is slated for summer 2020.
DRHA was formed in 1941 to provide federally subsidized housing and housing assistance to low-income families within the City of Danville, Virginia. They manage 492 units under the HUD low-income public housing program and five multi-family housing complexes. Their public housing accommodates approximately 1600 residents.
Cardinal Village, located in the Southside community, was constructed as an urban renewal project. The Constance Covington Youth Center has been positively impacting children and their parents who reside in Cardinal Village over the past decade. It provides approximately 120 programs each year and partners with a number of organizations across the region to provide services to help families succeed. It connects caring adults to children and education classes to parents. This year, the community boasts that there have been no homicides in this community.
By building the new facility, DRHA will expand on the success of the Constance Covington Youth Center to serve the entire neighborhood.
“My ultimate joy is seeing the families of this community grow and learn together,” said Constance Covington, Cardinal Village youth coordinator & tenant association president. “All of us who live here want Cardinal Village to be a place that supports families, children and all our residents to live their best lives and have the resources that they need to succeed. This new community center will be a shining light for all who live on the southside of Danville.”
The new community center would not have been possible without the input and direction given by over 100 community residents and organizations meeting regularly together through DRF’s newest initiative called Opportunity Neighborhoods, led by Wendi Goods Everson. Opportunity Neighborhoods is designed to help children, families and neighborhoods thrive in three communities that have been coined the Opportunity Corridor – North Danville, Southside and Westside.
“There are great people living in these communities and some families have lived there for generations,” said Everson, senior program officer at Danville Regional Foundation. “There are good things happening but we also realize that there are always opportunities to make things better. Opportunity Neighborhoods is designed to help each of these communities to dream big dreams and visualize a future that they are excited to work towards – together.”
In the summer of 2018, Danville residents in the three neighborhoods — North Danville, Southside, and Westside — set out to create a unified roadmap to shape their own future. The result is this Quality of Life Plan, a guide that looks beyond any one strategy, system, or sector and focuses on wellbeing for everyone in the neighborhoods.
In their plan, Southside residents expressed their desire to have a facility to provide innovative programming, recreational opportunities and meeting space for residents in their neighborhood. They also set priorities to improving education, finding youth and parents employment, creating a safe space to play and increasing community connection.
“Our Quality of Life Plan, just like it is for our neighboring communities, is our roadmap for the future,” said Covington. “We’ve done so much work in the Southside to create a place of pride for our residents and the entire region has helped us achieve that – just like painting our mural. But there is more work to be done and our plan helps us keep that vision in our mind. We still need more funds to complete the building and I have seen the generosity of our neighbors. I know they will help us meet our goal.”
To donate to the Community Learning Center, please contact DRHA at 434-799-8380 to find out how you or your business can help. To learn more about Opportunity Neighborhoods and to view the Quality of Life plans for each neighborhood, please visit www.opportunityneighborhoods.com.