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Downtown Charles Town redesign ready for next step

September 13, 2005|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Charles Town's downtown revitalization drive soon will be on the move again.

With $1 million in funds for the work, city officials say they are ready to continue the work of building new sidewalks, installing new streetlights, benches and trash receptacles, and moving utility lines in the East Washington Street area.

Last year, the city completed the first leg of the project, which cost about $7.1 million and involved new sidewalks, streetlights, trees, benches, historical interpretation areas and trash receptacles along Washington Street from Samuel to West streets.

City officials said they planned to extend the revitalization east on Washington Street through a busy commercial area that includes the Turf Motel, a string of fast-food restaurants and the entrance to Charles Town Races & Slots.

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Now, with $1 million saved for that work, the project can begin, Mayor Peggy Smith said Monday.

The city received $250,000 from the state Department of Transportation, $350,000 from Congress and recently was awarded $400,000 in federal transportation funding through Gov. Joe Manchin for the work, Smith said.

From Samuel Street to the KFC restaurant, the project only will involve moving overhead utility lines away from Washington Street, Smith said.

Streetscape improvements from Samuel Street to the KFC will be put on hold until more money can be secured for that phase, Smith said.

The city needs about $3 million for the work it is planning, Charles Town City Council member Matt Ward said.

The city is concentrating on streetscape improvements from the KFC to Jefferson Avenue since it is a busy area and there are no sidewalks, Smith said.

"It's just really not safe," Smith said.

The streetscape work from the KFC to Jefferson Avenue will use the same sidewalk design and other improvements that were completed in the downtown area, Smith said.

McDonald's has torn down its restaurant on East Washington Street and will build a new one in its place, Ward said. As part of that project, McDonald's plans to pay for the streetscape improvements in front of its property, Ward said.

Smith said she hopes construction will begin soon, although she could not give a specific date.

"I'm so excited. I think it's going to be a wonderful improvement," Smith said.

Smith said she wants to see the city continue the project in other parts of the city, such as the western edge, where W.Va. 51 comes into the city.

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