Downtown Danville was abuzz July 2 as nearly 100 people turned out to see the next phase in the renovation/reconstruction of the Veterans Memorial Building get underway.

Several area officials attended the groundbreaking, held in front of the building at 400 Hartz Avenue. The Danville Town Council was joined bygroundbreaking2  members of area veterans groups in digging their golden shovels into the dirt, symbolically kicking off the construction. Though some preliminary work has already taken place, the actual renovation/reconstruction does not begin until July 5.

During the groundbreaking, Mayor Mike Doyle greeted those in attendance and spoke briefly about the plans for the building. After that, Bob Chipley spoke. Chipley, a member of the Veterans Memorial Building Board of Trustees, talked about the role the Veterans Memorial Building has played over the years and how the renovation will not just continue that work, but expand on it as well.

The $7.7 million project will nearly double the available space at the Veterans Building, which serves the needs of all of the veterans organizations in the area, as well as providing program space for seniors and other residents in the community. Once completed, the new structure will be 12,000 square feet.  The veterans will use the two story space at the front (Hartz Ave.) side, while the seniors will have office and class space at the rear. Dividing the two will be a large common area that can be used for events such as the veterans' crab feeds or rented out for weddings and other private gatherings.

groundbreaking3 Plans for the project were put together over the course of several months and a dozen meetings by a commission made up of representatives of the veteran and senior population as well as members of the Town Council. 

The work is expected to be completed by the end of 2011.