CommunitySpotlight Series


Spotlight on Danville: How a small city is home to growth and opportunity

Posted at 5:05 PM, Nov 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-15 18:35:23-05

DANVILLE, Ky. (LEX 18) — Danville's downtown is a big draw for both residents of Danville and visitors to the region.

City leaders and business owners say the city has long been home to innovation.

"It's been a joy to work with the excellent people and leaders here in the city," said Danville Mayor Mike Perros, who is entering his 8th year as mayor.

When asked about Danville's growth and opportunity, he, like many, says you have to look back first.

Danville was the first capital established in Kentucky in 1785 before we were even our own state. The first of nine constitutional conventions was held here in 1787.

Educational institutions were established here from Centre College to the Kentucky School for the Deaf.

Fast forward to today and the connectivity of the city continues.

"Danville is like a hub, in a wheel, with all the spokes around," said Mayor Perros. "And a big part of that hub is our healthcare system."

The Ephraim McDowell system is the largest employer in the county with more than 150 physicians in the system.

And in this town of about 17,000, there's a sense of community and opportunity.

"The thing about downtown Danville is it's always been a vibrant place," said Mayor Pro-Tem James J.H. Atkins.

Atkins started out teaching 8th-grade social studies in the Danville city schools system before entering city government.

"But I think when you look at downtown, though, it's about having small commercialized businesses and restaurants, things going on to attract us to come to downtown," said Atkins.

Those small businesses include Rhonda Reeves' Southern Plate Catering & Cafe.

Her cafe is all decked out and prepared for a Christmas open house among downtown Danville businesses, just one example of ways this town thrives.

"Downtown Danville, it's 100% support for each other," said Reeves. "It's not just, 'come see me.' It's 'come see everybody downtown.'"

Reeves started catering out of her home ten years ago, cooking for friends.

Today, in their downtown spot, she cooks and bakes from what she calls generational recipes.

"Our recipes -- sweet, savory -- all of that, comes from grandmothers, great-grandmothers when their day was around the stove," she says. "So they perfected it, and then we took those menus over the last ten years and just brought them into the millennial."

Just like Danville itself, the history and the mark of generations are still felt in this vibrant, busy Kentucky town.