City to kick off fundraising efforts for Riverfront Park with Glow with the Flow race, block party

Fundraising efforts for the Riverfront Park project will have its official kickoff at Danville’s annual Glow with the Flow race and block party Oct. 18.

Besides the usual 5K race in years past, the event also will include its first block party and a conceptual video of the proposed park on a 20-foot-wide screen at the site of the project.

“This is the first time we’ve moved it [Glow with the Flow] to the site of the park,” said Bill Sgrinia, director of Danville Parks and Recreation.

The event will officially launch the city’s campaign to raise money for the Riverfront Park project.

“We felt it was important for it to be on the site where the park is going,” Sgrinia said.

Danville officials hope to build a riverfront park on about four acres at Main Street and Memorial Drive between the White Mill site and King Memorial Bridge.

They are seeking large donations from foundations and corporations in the hopes that private funding pays for most of the park’s costs.

More than half of the estimated $10.1 million cost has been raised so far. Close to $1 million in land acquisition — which brings the total project cost to $11.1 million — already is covered by the city. The property is owned by the Danville Industrial Development Authority, the city’s land-buying arm.

The IDA board voted Tuesday to give 4 acres to Danville for the project. The land is assessed at $176,000, but an appraisal under the previous owner valued the land at close to $1 million, said Danville City Manager Ken Larking.

The more than $5 million raised includes a $4 million “challenge” grant from the Danville Regional Foundation that will go toward the project under the condition the remainder of the needed funds is raised.

Officials also have $1.3 million in city reserve money to help pay for the project. That money came from Duke Energy as part of a settlement the company provided following the February 2014 coal ash spill in the Dan River.

The fundraising campaign — which will include the conceptual video to be shown at Glow with the Flow event, creation of other videos, graphic design, printed materials and promotional materials — is estimated to cost around $12,000, Sgrinia said.

“We are certainly trying to minimize our expenses for fundraising,” he said.

Mayor Alonzo Jones will speak at the event.

“The investments that our partners are willing to make are overwhelming,” Jones said. “I’m excited at getting those partners engaged. We can’t do it by ourselves as a council.”

During the campaign, something new will be released every week about the park project until the end of the year, Sgrinia said.

Sponsorship and registration fees will cover the overall race and block party, Sgrinia said.

The event runs from 6 to 10 p.m., with the 5K starting at the site of the park and ending at Main Street Plaza. The cost to enter the 5K race is $20 for those 15 and older. Those 14 and younger can enter for free.

“This can be ran or walked,” said Kara Robertson, parks and recreation community program coordinator. “It’s a very family-friendly race.”

The race will start at the Riverfront Park site, head west on Memorial Drive and onto Union Street Bridge, onto the Riverwalk Trail and then to Main Street Plaza.

Those interested in participating can register online at Registration also will take place from 3 to 6:30 p.m. at the event.

Robertson said she expects about 200 participants in the 5K.

The block party will be free and open to public. It will include live music from the Pittsylvania County-based band Fatz, a Kono Pizza food truck, beer and children activities including a bounce house and a glow-in-the-dark dome.

Glow sticks will be provided and attendees are encouraged to wear glow gear, Robertson said.

Crane reports for the Register & Bee. He can be reached at (434) 791-7987.

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