CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Charleston residents really want mixed-use development along the riverfront, adaptive reuse of vacant and underused building, and a network of bike trails across the city.
Then again, the consultants who are writing new downtown development and citywide comprehensive plans for the city of Charleston already knew that. They spent months meeting with residents, business people and government leaders, collecting data for those plans.
The planners -- some from MKSK, some from LSL Planning Inc. -- presented their initial findings and sketched out some ideas for reshaping the city at an open house last week at the Culture Center. The 100 to 125 people who attended were invited to cast ballots, choosing up to 10 of their high priority projects among a list of 34.
MKSK is an urban design, landscape architecture and entertainment design firm, while LSL Planning is a Michigan consulting firm.
Two projects rose to the top out with more than 60 votes each and a third -- bike trails -- stood out with 49 votes. Six projects got between 30 and 36 votes; four got about two dozen. A total of 687 votes were cast.
Number one was the riverfront, which received 63 votes: "Encourage mixed-use riverfront development including living, shopping, dining, entertainment and recreation opportunities that connect to the river."
The runner-up, with 61 votes: "Adopt reuse strategies for vacant and underutilized properties and buildings."
Craig Gossman, the lead planning consultant from MKSK, said the voting results didn't surprise him.
"The riverfront -- you would expect the riverfront to get votes because people think, even with the improvements so far, there's so much more people could do with livability along the riverfront," Gossman said Monday.
"From Day One there's been a conversation about getting Charleston more bicycle friendly.