Mayor Alonzo Jones on Tuesday night proclaimed Saturday, Dec. 8, as Wendell O. Scott Sr. Day in Danville. On that day, two events will be held in memory of the Danville native son and NASCAR legend and Hall of Fame driver.
At 2 p.m. on Saturday, state and local leaders will gather at the Institute of Advanced Learning and Research to dedicate a section of the Danville Expressway in memory of Scott, who died in 1990 at the age of 69. Signs are in place marking the section from U.S. 29 Business to the northern city limits as the Wendell O. Scott, Sr. Memorial Highway.
Later on Saturday, the Wendell Scott Foundation Legacy Gala will celebrate the life, legacy and 55th anniversary of Scott’s first NASCAR win, which occurred on Dec. 1, 1963, at Speedway Park in Jacksonville, Fla.
“My grandfather’s legacy has always been a huge bridge for diversity, encouragement and empowerment,” Warrick Scott, grandson of Wendell Scott Sr. and founder and CEO of the Wendell Scott Foundation, said in accepting the proclamation on behalf of the Scott family. “We are extremely proud about what is going to happen this weekend. We hope that Danville is as excited as we are.”
The proclamation lists many of Wendell Scott Sr.’s accomplishments, including:
- the first African-American to compete full-time in NASCAR’s premier division,
- the first African-American to win a NASCAR premier series event, with the win coming on Dec. 1, 1963, at Speedway Park in Jacksonville, Fla.,
- a 13-year career at NASCAR’s top level that included 20 top-five and 147 top-10 finishes in 495 starts.
- induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, where he joined Bill Elliott, Fred Lorenzen, Joe Weatherly and Rex White in the 2015 class.
Scott also enjoyed a prolific career that spanned well beyond NASCAR’s premier series. In 1959, he won both the NASCAR Sportsman Division Virginia championship and the Sportsman Division championship at Southside Speedway in Richmond, Va. In 1957, Scott finished third in the Virginia standings behind NASCAR Hall of Famer Ned Jarrett.
Scott retired from racing in 1973 after an injury suffered during a race in Talladega, Ala.
In addition to the proclamation, City Council voted last night to:
- amend the budget to provide for $7.65 million in bond proceeds to fund various capital projects, including purchase of fire apparatus; street improvements; elevator, roof and HVAC replacements; purchase of emergency generators; park facility improvements; electric system line rebuilds and substation upgrades; and bond issuance costs.
- use $612,080 from cash reserves as a local match for infrastructure development at the Southern Virginia Megasite off Berry Hill Road. The grants total $4.9 million and were provided by the Virginia Tobacco Commission in 2011 and 2015. When the grants were approved by the commission, the Danville-Pittsylvania Regional Industrial Facility Authority (RIFA) did not have a land disturbance and grading permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, so the city postponed approving the local match until a permit was obtained. RIFA received its needed permit about a year ago and work on water and sewer is now underway at the mega park.
- accept a grant of $120,000 from the Danville Regional Foundation to assist with the region’s business attraction strategy, particularly with the recruitment of precision metalworking related manufacturing. Tom Loehr, retired executive vice president of Rolls Royce Aerospace, serves as a consultant. Loehr has played a major role in attracting several economic development projects to the Dan River Region.
- amend the zoning code to allow for a reduction in parking space requirements.
- grant a special use permit to operate a bed and breakfast at 327 West Main St.
- grant a special use permit to operate an auction establishment at 2179 South Boston Road.
- authorize the city manager to sign the annual local government agreement with the Virginia Department of Health.
In addition to these votes, City Council held a first reading on three items involving the W.W. Moore Jr. Juvenile Detention Center:
- a budget amendment to provide for $1.28 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for housing-related programs.
- a budget amendment to provide for a state grant in the amount of $9,597 for litter prevention and recycling activities.
- a budget amendment to provide for a federal grant in the amount $33,274 to equip police officers with police bicycles for community engagement.
A first reading is an introductory step required by City Code before certain matters can be voted upon by City Council. This procedural step serves to provide public notice of pending action. Council could not vote last night. The earliest vote that can take place will be the Dec. 18 City Council meeting.
Council's meeting included a business session followed by a work session. In work sessions, Council reviews non-routine matters that may be voted upon in future business meetings.
During last night’s work session, City Council reviewed the latest audit results and discussed appointments to the Building Code Board of Appeals, Employee Retirement System Board, Fair Housing Board and Planning Commission.
City Council also held a closed meeting in the work session as allowed by state law for discussion of a prospective business or industry and discussion of acquisition of real property or disposition of publicly held real property.