Danville-Boyle County Economic Development Partnership will move this summer from its location at McClure-Barbee House to Constitution Square Park.
It’s an agreement EDP and Boyle County Fiscal Court have been working on for a few years since the state decided to transfer ownership of the park to the county.
EDP President and CEO Jody Lassiter said the relocation makes sense, as the park is a focal point of attraction and history for Danville and Boyle County and already houses one of its partners, the Convention and Visitors Bureau at Grayson’s Tavern.
Once the move takes place about May or June, the Industrial Foundation will reside in Fisher’s Row House 1, the Chamber of Commerce will be in Fisher’s Row House 2, and the Heart of Danville will be in the Goldsmith House.
The Watts-Bell House, the Schoolhouse and the central maintenance office will serve as conference and meeting rooms for EDP and the public.
In addition to the move, the CVB and Boyle County Fiscal Court have agreed that in exchange for in-kind services, fiscal court will ebate the CVB's monthly rent of $350.
The memorandum of agreement passed with a 13-1 vote Wednesday morning at the EDP board meeting, with Danville Mayor Bernie Hunstad objecting.
“We didn’t have a lot of time to review this,” Hunstad said. “The City Commission certainly has not seen this.”
Hunstad said he is concerned with the idea of the EDP and CVB managing the park, while maintaining its first objective of bringing industry to the area. He also is concerned with the CVB not having to pay rent.
He suggested a separate entity be considered for responsibility of managing the park.
Lassiter said the EDP is “elastic enough” to handle the responsibility, and its agreement with the county has been made.
“The property was accepted by the county under the premise that the EDP would occupy it as a campus and give it new life,” Lassiter said.
“Rather than recreating a wheel, why not ask our partner that has the specific expertise to manage the park? The CVB already provides many of those services today.”
Hunstad said his objection stood as he does not agree with the CVB getting increased funding by not paying rent.
Boyle County Judge-Executive Harold McKinney said the city “could have stepped up” to assist with the park. And considering there will be no net gain from abating CVB’s rent, he didn’t agree with Hunstad’s argument.
“I don’t understand your concern, Mayor,” McKinney said, adding the county has been working four and half years to form an agreement. “We want EDP there.”
Hunstad said the agreement “does not take into consideration all of the partners” and that “City Commission deserves a pass at this.”
Lassiter said as its own corporate entity, the EDP has the right to make an agreement with another entity and that the mayor had sufficient time to review the agreement as a member of the EDP board.
In addition, Lassiter said the county will continue to maintain the park while the EDP pays rent and manages general things, like any tenant would.
As for CVB not paying rent, he said it will be a “wash” as the services it will provide likely will exceed rent costs.
John Albright, chairman of the EDP board, said nothing will change for the EDP other than its location, which reasonably should be at the park.
“The whole idea was to put everybody together to be more efficient,” Albright said.
In other business, the EDP was presented a surprise from one of its private investors, Community Trust Bank.
The board had expected the bank to invest its usual $5,000 but received $15,000, moving the investor to the Gold Level.