Danville mayor reflects on nearly 50 years serving the city

Friday marked mayor's last day of work

DANVILLE, Va. – Friday was the end of an era in Danville.

It was Danville Mayor John Gilstrap's last day of work.

He's served the city for nearly 50 years, beginning in 1972.

Gilstrap was the head of the city's parks and recreation department for almost 30 years, then became head of the Big Brothers Big Sisters chapter.

He served on city council since 2010 and had been mayor since 2016.

"It's been a great ride. We've had fun. I think we've accomplished a lot," Gilstrap said. "I see the future as bright for Danville, very, very bright."

While a lot was accomplished over the years, a few accomplishments stand out.

"The trail system, building of Dan Daniel Memorial Park and especially the memorial stadium -- Post 325 Memorial Baseball Stadium. We had to meet professional standards," Gilstrap said.

One thing he wishes he could've have accomplished was the creation of a public swimming pool.

"I worked for 30 years to get a public swimming pool. At one time, I had five votes from council. It was a 5-4 vote," Gisltrap said. "Unfortunately, (the project) was over $10,000 so it takes six votes."

On Monday, council members will be sworn in for their next term.

Afterward, they'll choose which one of them will be the next mayor.

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