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[Charleston] City beautifucation projects

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City tackles highway strip

Key --

1. The beautification is along MacCorkle Avenue between the road and the CSX Corporation railroad tracks.

2. The Charleston Land Trust formed a Riverfront South subcommittee more than one year ago to tackle the cleanup along the strip between the railroad tracks and the highway.

2a. Last fall, they began planning for a five-mile stretch of highway from Kanawha City to the Patrick Street Bridge that needed repairing -- cosmetically.

2b. Lately, the city workers have been cutting and using heavy equipment to remove weeds, etc., repairing old storm drains, and regrading some areas.

2c. Hundreds of new trees and shrubs have been planted so far.

2d. There has been more attention paid to key intersections, such as the Corridor G intersection, and the underpasses at Porter Road and South Ruffner.

3. The city has spent $30,000 to buy native trees and shrubs -- most of which have already been installed. This includes '25 Kussa dogwoods, 100 Norway spruce, 15 hawthornes, 25 redbuds, 100 viburnums, 50 Foster hollies, 50 ilex hollies and 75 winterberry hollies'.

3a. More will be ordered, including crepe myrtles, boxwoods, burning bushes, Virginia pines, daylilies, roses and other perennial flowers.

4. Verizon, Columbia Gas Transmission, the University of Charleston and CAMC may chip in as corporate sponsors.

5. WVDOH is 'grateful' for the help, however, CSX has been reluctant. They first allowed the city to use herbicides to remove weeds and vines along the railroad tracks -- and even put the city workers through a safety course. But they later backed down and now may be handed over to a contractor.

6. This has taken nearly all of the city's 21 Public Grounds employees to task. Another full-time employee will be hired starting July 1 -- especially for the south side.

7. Other subcommittes include one working on the the Kanawha City Bike Trail extension. They have met four times and are working with CAMC, UC, Columbia Gas and Verizon -- to extend the trail to the telephone company property.

7a. They hope to extend the trail to Patrick Street where it would link up with the planned rail trail crossing over an abandoned railroad bridge near Florida Street.

7b. They have raised $60,000 of public/private/grant funds to clean up the properties around the Amtrak station.

7c. Another group is looking at ways to clean up the area between MacCorkle Avenue and the Kanawha River.

Article information: "City tackles highway strip, By Jim Balow, Charleston Gazette, April 09, 2007"

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Parcel for park near Clay Center to cost CURA $591,000

By Andrew Clevenger, Sunday Gazette-Mail [Charleston], June 29, 2007

A Kanawha County jury awarded Barbara Selman almost $591,000 on Thursday for her land bought by the city as part of a planned gateway greenspace park in downtown Charleston. The jury took two hours to deliberate, and decided that the fair market value for the 12,182 sq. ft. parcel on Washington St. E. was $48.50 per square foot. An appraisal from the Charleston Urban Renewal Authority, however, had put the value of the land at $30 per sq. ft., or about $365,000.

In June 2006, CURA invoked eminent domain to buy Selman's lot which is opposite of the Clay Center as part of a plan to create a small park. CURA had already bought the neighboring parcels, but Selman had refused to sell. Selman was unhappy with the price CURA offered, so the case was taken to court.

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Trees, fountain going in at Clay Center

By Bob Schwarz, Charleston Gazette, October 19, 2007

More than four years after the Clay Center opened in July 2003, crews are finally completing the landscaping. They added tall trees, a fountain and will eventually install a big sculpture. The Clay Center's governing board approved the $1.35 million project in February, but work did not begin until around October 1.

Details of the landscaping include seven 22-foot-tall honey locust trees beside the mostly short and flowering landscape on the Lee Street side. Crews have taken out some ornamental brick, dug planting holes, and on Thursday, were pouring concrete. On the Washington Street side, the big grassy area will receive improved drainage, some locus and linden trees, a fountain, and three concentric circles of granite seat walls. The walls will give schoolchildren extra places to sit and eat lunch. The fountain area would become a performance venue.

The Washington Street grassy area will also receive an evergreen hedge. Four pyramid-shaped hornbeam trees will be installed in front of the performance hall's grand lobby, and will range from 14- to 22-feet tall.

Funding for the project was raised in the capital campaign that paid for the building. The $1.35 million includes money, around $300,000, for the installation of a large sculpture in the center of a traffic circle. The sculpture costs extra, and an anonymous donor has pledged $400,000. The sculpture or sculptor should be chosen by year's end.

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