UPDATE 10/7/13 @ 11:15 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A plan to revitalize the city of Charleston is now one step closer to reality. During Monday night’s City Council meeting, city leaders voted to adopt the Imagine Charleston plan.
“Now we have a roadmap that will tell us what we ought to be doing for the next ten years,” City Manager David Molgaard told WSAZ.com after the meeting.
The plan could mean $50 million to expand and remodel the Civic Center, more housing downtown along Quarrier Street and possibly relocating the Transit Mall, which has become a notorious trouble spot for crime.
City leaders say attracting tourists to Charleston was part of the plan’s motivation.
Teddy Queen owns the Swift Water General Store and Café along Capitol Street. Queen says while most of his customers are the working crowd, more tourist foot traffic downtown would be a blessing for his business and also a bit of a coincidence. It was tourism that brought Queen back to West Virginia after working in Atlanta for years.
“I fell in love with the white water industry,” Queen said.
Molgaard tells WSAZ.com funding is not an issue at this stage of the process because the plan is just a guideline.
During the past year, meetings have been held to see what people want Charleston to look like in 20 years.
Imagine Charleston is the name of the plan. City Manager David Molegaard says it's a roadmap to the future of the city.
"The reality will be that other people will come forward and look at investing in the downtown use this as a tool to do that," City Manager David Molegaard said.
Bike lanes are planned for along Kanawha Boulevard -- also building on the success of Haddad Riverfront Park.
City leaders plan on spending more than $50 million to expand and remodel the Charleston Civic Center. However, that's only the beginning.
Now, there are plans for urban housing downtown along Quarrier Street. Perhaps, going with an idea to relocate the Kanawha County Public Library.
The city also wants to redevelop Slack Plaza and Brawley Walkway, which has been a trouble spot.
"Slack Plaza, as it's designed, creates a gauntlet where you have to pass through as you're going from Capitol Street to the Town Center Mall, for instance, at lunch time," Molegarrd said.
The big fix, he says, may be relocating the transit mall and opening up the park to make it functional for events and vibrant for visitors. Now the challenge, is gathering the funding for the future.
Many of the projects are already underway. The plan is roughly 100 pages.
The city manager says it's a 20-year plan, and there are constant meetings to prioritize all of the projects.
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