Reimagine the White Mill Dam, don't destroy it.
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On behalf of the citizens of Danville and Pittsylvania County, and especially those that use the beautiful facilities and businesses in and around the Main Street Fountain, YMCA, Spectrum Medical, and the proposed White Mill Park area; We the undersigned respectfully call on Danville City Council to find alternative options to the destruction of the White Mill Dam.
Some of our reasons for wanting the white mill dam to remain:
1) The entire "reimagine" renovation of downtown Danville has been to repurpose what is existing, not destroy it. Repurpose, Recycle, Reclaim is the mantra of the millennial generation, the very people we are attempting to keep in, and attract to, Danville. "Reimagining" the White Mill Dam will definitely appeal to them and the children they are raising.
2) Any danger associated with the dam can be mitigated by simply blocking/denying access to the dam on each shore and destroying the hydraulic effect of first 20' of the dam on each shore. Through the use of rip rap build up below the dam (destroys the hydraulic effect) or other methods on each shore and fencing; pedestrians and children using the river walk trails cannot accidentally come into contact with the hydraulic.
3) The focal point for anyone in the area between the Main Street bridge and covered bridge that crosses the river IS the historic White Mill dam. The dam creates a beautiful waterfall, the sounds of cascading water, and the reflective "pond effect" behind it. If a canal, or other access were provided, the pond area above the dam will be very attractive to canoeists and kayakers. Once removed however, the area behind the dam (if historical references are true) will likely only be good for waders, and catching debris.
4) If a plan similar to the many low head dam modifications in states like Iowa were incorporated, the downtown river area could attract just as many people as our mountain bike trails do. “The whitewater park has drawn visitors from across the state and beyond, receiving positive reviews from guests and residents alike. Charles City’s initiative has been replicated in nearby communities, enabling marketing of Iowa to the nation as a whitewater destination!” Ginger Williams, Marketing and Tourism Coordinator for the Charles City Chamber of Commerce. Today, the Charles City's Whitewater Park attracts river users with an estimated annual economic impact of $764,000 ( http://iowarivers.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Iowa-Low-head-Dam-Modification-Success-Storeis.pdf
5) Leaving the dam in place with modifications:
Will be in keeping with the Downtown revitalization concept of "reimagine".
Will preserve a historic feature of the very namesake of the city.
Will have the potential of attracting tourists to our area.
Will have known aesthetic results versus the unknown of demolition.
Will be safe for pedestrians and children in the area.
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