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Committee approves funding for city's revitalization efforts

July 31, 2002

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - City officials are pleased that the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, led by U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., has finalized a transportation spending bill that provides $300,000 to Charles Town for its Gateway Revitalization project.

Money for the project, which is aimed at improving the eastern entrance to the city on Rt. 115/Washington Street, was approved Monday and now moves to the full Senate for further consideration.

City officials said in a news release issued Tuesday they are excited about the Senate funding bill and the opportunities available.

"Charles Town seeks to work in partnership with Sen. Byrd, U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, the state highway department, Jefferson County, Charles Town Races & Slots, local businesses and citizens to turn the jumbled, congested entrance to our community into a safe, well-designed approach fitting for a charming, historic town," Mayor Randy Hilton said in the news release.

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The Gateway Revitalization project was presented by Hilton and City Councilman Matt Ward to the City Council in April, when it won unanimous approval.

Ward said massive increases in vehicle traffic and hectic activity in strips of commercial and retail shops on both sides of the road are hazardous to pedestrians. Ward also pointed out there are no sidewalks in the area as well.

According to Ward, the project plans include:

  • Re-engineer the roadway to improve vehicle flow, pedestrian safety and accessibility through the installation of sidewalks on both sides of the road.

  • Install underground utility wires, provide street trees, benches and vintage-style street lights.

  • Establish a Gateway to Charles Town welcome area at the entrance to the city.



City Manager Jane Arnett said the next step in the project will be a town meeting for merchants and residents to identify how the project can be done "in a way that improves the business climate of the community while improving traffic flow and beautifying the area."

Byrd said the city has undertaken a bold effort to breathe new life into the community's commercial and tourism corridors.

"This project builds on Charles Town's historic foundation in an effort to maximize tourist and business opportunities by highlighting the city's historical importance," Byrd said.

Ward said the project is key to the city's future.

"The project is vital to keeping Charles Town a charming, economically vital center of Jefferson County as the region undergoes tremendous change," he said.

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