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seicer

(WVA) 9th Street Plaza Renovations

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Article --

http://www.heralddispatch.com/apps/pbcs.dl...EWS01/606220334

Map --

http://www.heralddispatch.com/assets/pdf/C131943622.PDF

IMO, the removal of the park benches from the final design is not necessary. Yes, there are a lot of homeless people that do abuse park plaza, many of them drug addicts (see: 'Detroit connection'), however, the cost of not finding a place to sit and read the paper, or a book, etc. under shaded trees is too great. Increased police patrols (already planned) will solve this problem.

The 9th Street Renovations will be the second project at this corridor in 30 years. The plaza was originally a pedestrian-only plaza, however, it failed to catch on because of a lack of parking so customers could not easily reach the stores within. In the 1990's, the barriers (huge concrete planters) were moved to allow traffic as seen in the aerial photo (see article).

With Pullman Square all but complete on phase I on Third Avenue, this will connect that project and its now thriving-block to Fourth Avenue and Third (where the project is expected to go eventually).

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I haven't been back to Huntington since Pullman Square opened. I can remember the huge debate there was for years over that property and the planned "Superblock" mall, which never materialized.

I need to go back home and have a look (or at least to grab a Stewart's Hot Dog). The benches on the 9th Street Plaza were the large concrete ones, if I recall, weren't they? I used to go to the Library (which is right on 9th Street Plaza) when I was young and check books out and sit there and read from time to time. One would think the proximity to the library would dictate that benches remain on the 9th Street Plaza.

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I haven't been back to Huntington since Pullman Square opened. I can remember the huge debate there was for years over that property and the planned "Superblock" mall, which never materialized.

I need to go back home and have a look (or at least to grab a Stewart's Hot Dog). The benches on the 9th Street Plaza were the large concrete ones, if I recall, weren't they? I used to go to the Library (which is right on 9th Street Plaza) when I was young and check books out and sit there and read from time to time. One would think the proximity to the library would dictate that benches remain on the 9th Street Plaza.

Yeah, people currently sit on the planters which work quite well as seats for short term use. The last few times I was by the library, I could clearly see just how bad the homeless can be. Instead of going to the vastly underutilized shelters (I helped out in the shelters and can contest to their underutilization), they horde by the river or flock to the library hoping for some handouts by patrions of the library. Just doing a quick walkby over a period of two days, I found feces in the alley, jugs of urine (wtf.), clothes, shopping carts - you name it, it was there.

As for the Superblock, it has driven a lot of development. There are people who still whine about how the project is destined to fail like everything else in Huntington, or how Pullman is not a "mall" and has little "retail" - therefore its going to fail. These people are your older residents, who grew up in the mall era and helped suck the downtown life out. They have little reason to be in the downtown, and have little reason to see its success. For instance, in one letter-to-the-editor, one older respondent (he identified himself as an older male) misses the days of the department stores ruling the downtown. Another reader, also an older respondent, said he misses all the free parking that the Superblock provided. I mean come on, it was several blocks of broken asphalt that have been replaced with parking garages and shops. At $1/FOUR hours, you can't beat that price. Yet, he went on to complain that $1/FOUR hours was too high.

Pullman Square encompasses two parking structures, several shops geared towards the urban clientele, numerous restaurants (incl. one that will be opening soon), a movie theatere, and a fantastic bookstore that is one of the best I have ever been to - and I've been to quite a lot in many states. Very personalized at that.

Now what happened is that the block across from the former Superblock - had Stone & Thomas, etc. - was all but vacant. It is in various stages of renovation or occupancy. Several have been restored and are quite beautiful, others just had their horrific facades ripped off so that the underlying structure could be renovated, etc.

And now Love's Hardware announced they will be tearing off their hideous green metal facade and will be restoring the building so that loft styled apartments can be placed on the upper floors. And commanding high prices at that.

But with all this, people still complain that it is now sucking the life out of Fourth Avenue. One popular citation is the Keith Albee, which closed as a movie house but is owned by Marshall University. That means it will be eventually restored as a performing arts center.

It's how you look at it, what generation you were born in, and what you want out of a downtown that drives opinions.

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Whoah! A little Huntington news eh? My whole family is from the Ashland area and while I was born and raised in Charlotte I have spent considerable time in the Ashland/Huntington area. However, despite spending so much time up there my whole life I rarely went to downtown Huntington. I finally went around January and I have to say that Huntington has sooo much unbelievable potential and some gorgeous buildings. Huntington is still fighting of course a largely backwoods population. Having the University there does tremendous amounts for downtown and will/can continue to do much more as downtown continues toward a renaissance however keeping the students there post graduation seems to be a problem for WV as a state. I really hope that the university can be an incubator for downtown Huntington. I also think Huntington should relly study cities like Asheville, NC and Chattanooga, TN. I also think WV as a state needs to really focus on Huntington and its potential but I don't know how the gov works in WV (ie is there a Charleston bias?). By the way, I saw a movie at the Keith-Albee and thought it was the most incredible theatre I've ever been in. Those old theatres will eventually be a huge drawing card for DT, screw stadium seating, out of towners have had that for over a decade, it's the movie palaces in DT Huntington that will impress visitors as those are becoming rarer by the minute. Great things could and probably will happen for Huntington, I hope you continue to keep us abreast Sceicer. This post was a little sporadic and lacks depth but I would love to get some dialogue going on Huntington in UP.

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My dad's family is from just outside of Huntington in Wayne Co. and I've gone to Huntington my whole life once or twice a year. But last weekend when I was there and I went to Pullman Square, it was the most alive I've ever seen that town (excluding Marshall game days). I was there at 9:00 at night, and before PS their downtown would have been totally empty, I saw couples and families strolling about, people eating, and coming out of movies. I think that this will help them revitalize the town as a whole, and I think that it shows how well planned (anything but the god-awful "Superblock") developments can help dilapidated downtowns. Detroit; take notes.

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To answer both of you: see a previous thread in this forum (see my previous posts for faster results) on Pullman Square. Yes, my post was a bit hasty and quick but I am going to do some revisions to it in the form of a Wikipedia addition to Huntington, WV. I just amended Lexington, KY to include New Urbanism developments and will probably do something similar.

As for potential, yes, Huntington has a lot. I will discuss more of it later, since it can be quite extensive.

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I was born and reared in Huntington (attended Altizer Elementary and Beverly Hills Jr. High) and moved to Florida in 1985 just before starting High School and several years after my father retired from the C&O in the late 70's.

I've been back often since my relocation to Florida since I've still had family, in one form or another, in the area ever since I moved away. Huntington is one of those cities that has always had tremendous potential for redevelopment and revitalization. The current state of Huntington reminds me of what my current home of Greenville, South Carolina was just two decades ago. Downtown was nearly dead in Greenville. Homeless people occupied the streets. Storefronts were empty. Buildings were in ill repair. In Greenville, the catalyst was some simple landscaping and removal of a couple of traffic lanes on Main Street in downtown. The traffic lanes were replaced by free parking spaces. The landscaping, two decades or so later, has matured into a lush canopy of green trees. The store fronts are anything but empty today and new development is popping up all over the place downtown. Huntington may want to send a group down here to Greenville, if they have not already done so.

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