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Cities in Panhandle receive project boosts from state

September 13, 2006|by MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin announced his presentation Tuesday of two transportation enhancement grants to Charles Town, W.Va., and Martinsburg, both of the city's mayors confirmed.

Manchin presented a $400,000 check to Charles Town city clerk Joe Cosentini for phase two of the municipality's "gateway" project along Washington Street.

In Charleston, W.Va., for interim meetings of the Legislature, state Sen. John Unger, D-Berkeley, said he received a $149,600 check on behalf of Martinsburg for the city's East John Street streetscape project.

"This (money) won't complete it, but we will certainly get a good start," Charles Town Mayor Peggy A. Smith said.

Phase two of the gateway project entails relocating utilities on East Washington Street between KFC and the city's boundary near the Charles Town Athletic Club, beautification and improving pedestrian access, Smith said.

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Engineering is under way to complete the project, but Smith said easements still must be obtained.

The grant for Martinsburg's East John Street project appears to complement the city's effort to address storm water concerns in one of its oldest neighborhoods. City leaders already have spent federal Community Development Block Grant money to replace the East John Street bridge and nearby sewer infrastructure along Water Street.

"We're very happy that we got the money," Mayor George Karos said.

Aside from streetscape improvements, the grant is expected to be used for a park near the bridge over Tuscarora Creek and the historic home of Revolutionary War Gen. Adam Stephen, considered by historians to be Martinsburg's founder, officials said. Martinsburg was chartered in 1778 and named after Col. Thomas Bryan Martin, a nephew of Lord Fairfax.

The Potomac Appalachian Trail Club received a $14,200 grant to build a bridge across Meadow Branch stream, providing a safe crossing for the Tuscarora Trail in Berkeley County, according to a news release.

Unger, who chairs the Senate Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said the solid waste authorities in both counties also were awarded money for their recycling programs Tuesday.

Jefferson County received $8,834 and Berkeley County received $17,000, Unger said.

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