Danville apartments to be named after former mayor

DANVILLE, Va. (WDBJ) – An apartment complex in Danville will be named after City Council member and former Mayor Sherman M. Saunders, says the Danville Redevelopment and Housing Authority’s Board of Commissioners.

The ten-unit complex is dedicated to housing people with disabilities and military veterans. The complex at 608 Upper Street will be named Sherman M. Saunders Court.

The complex will feature one- and two-bedroom apartments that are handicap-accessible. The restored building previously served as the Sledd Memorial Church and the Community Improvement Council Head Start Building.

Danville Mayor Alonzo Jones – who also serves on the board – said Saunders is a pillar of the community.

“I will never forget the words of Sherman Saunders when he stepped down four years ago as mayor of Danville after having served as mayor for more than eight years,” Jones recalled. “Sherman talked about how, for all of his life, he simply wanted to be a part of helping to bring people together and to build a stronger community. That is the Sherman Saunders we all know, respect and admire. It is only fitting that we rename this building in his honor.”

At the age of 15, Saunders dedicated his life to helping others after hearing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speak at the city’s High Street Baptist Church.

Saunders served in the U.S. Army and spent 42 years working with Pittsylvania County Community Action, an agency dedicated to bringing people out of poverty.

He spent 33 years of his time at the agency as executive director, and helped the agency grow from 20 to 160 employees. He also helped expand services to Campbell, Patrick and Franklin counties, as well as the cities of Martinsville and Danville.

Saunders served as Danville’s mayor from January 1, 2008 to June 30, 2016. He has served on City Council for 22 years, as well as numerous local, state and national boards and commissions.

The Sherman M. Saunders Court building was renovated using a mix of low income housing tax credits and historic tax credits, along with CDBG funds from the city and funding through the Virginia Housing Trust Fund, Atlanta Federal Home Loan Bank and Virginia Community Capital, according to the DRHS.

The building will be dedicated September 3 at 6 p.m.

For more information on Sherman M. Saunders Court, contact DRHA Executive Director, Larissa Deedrich, at [email protected] For application information, contact Shannon Staton at 434-792-9393 or email [email protected]

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