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Planners OK site plan for Martinsburg square

July 08, 2010|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. -- The site plan for redesigning the City of Martinsburg's town square was unanimously approved Wednesday by the Martinsburg Planning Commission.

Commissioners aired mostly positive comments about the plan to create more green space on the north and south side of East King Street in the 100 block, but Commissioner Reenie Raines lamented the loss of parking spaces in the square that are close to the public library. The library occupies the square's southwest corner and the redesign eliminates parking on the southeast corner. Overall nine of 15 spaces at the square will be eliminated in the redesign, according to city officials.

Project Manager Richard Travers of Chester Engineers told commissioners that city officials have been talking to state transportation officials about options to free up more on-street parking near the square and suggested the completion of the Raleigh Street Extension project could help their argument for shortening yellow line curb areas where parking is not allowed.

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Commissioner Mark Palmer separately suggested that it may be in the city's interest to make sure the design accommodates snow removal.

"It might be worth a quick look," Palmer said.

Because the redesign reduces the impervious area in the square from 93.5 percent (25,249 square feet) to 64.8 percent (17,479 square feet,) the city was able to apply for a stormwater management waiver, according to according to Project Manager Richard Travers of Chester Engineers.

Aside from more green space, about 2,000 square feet of East King Street in the new square will be covered with colored concrete pavers that are permeable, allowing runoff to flow below the surface into a drain, according to Travers. The new pervious area will be 9,511 square feet, according to Chester Engineers.

The design also envisions a water fountain in the middle of a boulevard island, which is to replace the East King Street turning lane. An existing war memorial and flags at the square also would be relocated. A sculpture of city founder, Gen. Adam Stephen also is planned for the island, but Travers has said that it would separate from the project to be bid.

Officials hope to advertise the project and open bids in August, with construction underway by October, Travers said.

The city was awarded $629,000 in state and federal grants since 2008 that required a local match of $157,250, City Manager Mark Baldwin has said.

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