The River District Association recently announce the appointment of five new members to the board of directors and recruited its former executive director back to her post.

Christy Harper with Bella Dame; Steven Osborne with Adams and Fisk, PLC; Kevin Palmer with Infinity Global, Inc.; Beth Waddell with First Citizens Bank; and Hampton Wilkins with Wilkins & Co. Realtors officially began their terms with the organization in July

“All five of our newest board members embody the spirit of community and bring talent, expertise and energy to the table” said Rachel Covington, RDA board president, “We are very fortunate to have them by our side as we continue to strengthen Danville’s River District and our community at large.”

In addition, the board recently recruited the former executive director Diana L. Schwartz to return to the organization and resume her original role, effective Oct. 14.

Schwartz left the organization in April after 20 months of leadership with RDA to work for the Commonwealth of Virginia as a community revitalization specialist with the Department of Housing and Community Development.

Since May, the RDA board has conducted a nationwide search to bring a strong leader into the position, while maintaining the continued success of projects such as the RDA Dream Launch, the River District Façade Grant program, the Union Street Partners in Preservation National Trust grant and the award-winning project pitch to Main Street America for the American Express Shop Small Saturday promotion this November.

“We were on a mission to find a proven leader that would not only continue the work we had started, but to also prepare our organization for the next phase of successful development and sustainability,” said Covington. “After reviewing several candidates and refining and improving our internal processes and structure, it became apparent that the right person to take us to the next level was our former director. We are extremely grateful to the RDA board of directors and to Caitlin Howell, director of marketing and events, for their leadership during this time.”

Schwartz explained the decision to leave her RDA post in April, as well as her imminent return.

“I have immense pride in the leadership throughout Danville, and a real passion for the work that has been done, and continues to be done, to improve our downtown, our community and our region,” said Schwartz. “I was fortunate to be offered the opportunity to share this passion with the southern communities throughout the Commonwealth in a role with DHCD and have truly enjoyed my short tenure there. But after much thought and consideration, I realize that serving in local leadership is likely the best way to affect direct positive change for our community at this time. My personal goal has always been to make a positive impact for those I am fortunate enough to serve, and I have renewed that commitment and excitement by rejoining the River District Association.”

The River District Association was organized in 1999 as the Downtown Danville Association. In May 2015, the organization was renamed the River District Association to complement the city’s River District brand and is an accredited Virginia and National Main Street Community.

Learn more about the group online at

Load comments