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Charles Town to celebrate $7.1 million renovation project

March 02, 2004|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - With Charles Town's $7.1 million downtown revitalization largely completed, it's time to celebrate.

City officials are planning a daylong party on May 22 that will include a 5K foot race, a barbecue, historical walking tours, music, food, open houses at the city's new visitor's center and the Jefferson County Museum, and other events, Charles Town City Council member Matt Ward said.

The Charles Town Heritage Celebration also will include a merchants appreciation dinner, although details are still being worked out, Ward said.

At 1:15 p.m. on that day, U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., is to participate in a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new project, Ward said.

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The ceremony is expected to revolve around the unveiling of four interpretive tourist signs beside the Jefferson County Courthouse.

During the revitalization, an open area was created beside the courthouse where people can sit. The interpretive signs in the area help tell the story of the Charles Town area, and one will include a map tourists can use for a walking tour, Ward said.

National Park Service employees donated their time to help create the signs, Ward said.

Byrd helped raise about $1 million in federal funding for the project and was an advocate for raising additional money for it, Ward said.

Ward said city officials are planning to close some streets for the ribbon-cutting ceremony and a block party that is being planned.

The revitalization work included ripping up old sidewalks on Washington Street from Samuel Street to West Street and replacing them with the concrete and red brick walkway. The work, which also extends along George Street from the Old Opera House to Congress Street, also included installing new streetlights, trash receptacles, tree plantings and a solid red brick sidewalk at George and Washington streets.

A simulated cobblestone and red brick crosswalk was constructed in the middle of the intersection at George and Washington streets. The design is intended to pay tribute to town founder Charles Washington, who declared that the four corners of the intersection would be set aside for public use.

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