CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Downtown denizens who keep an eye on Davis Park should get ready for more changes: Phase II of the Kanawha Garden Club's park makeover is about to start.
Under Phase I, city workers removed the overgrown hedges along the park's Lee Street and Capitol Street borders and behind interior benches, while contractors removed and refinished about half of those wooden benches.
Now, thanks to a recent $22,000 grant from the Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation, all the remaining benches and tables will get the same treatment this fall, said Kathy Becker, community project committee chairman from the Kanawha Garden Club.
Landscapers also want to cut down four Bradford pear trees this fall.
The tree removal is all part of the master plan drawn up by designer Tim Forren of Forren Soil, the West Side landscape company. Forren donated his services to the garden club.
The four pear trees, planted roughly in a line near Capitol Street starting from the One Davis Square building, probably date back to the 1980s, the last time Davis Park was renovated, Becker said.
"These are overgrown, over-mature trees that have lost their strength and are susceptible to storms," she said. "There's no one more conscious about tree removal than the Municipal Beautification Commission and they agree, they have to come out."
Four new trees will be planted in their place.
City workers removed a tree or two last year and may take out more next year during the third and final phase of the project, Becker said. They also pruned back trees, including a giant yew that towers beside the green-stained statue of Henry Gassaway Davis.
"That was cleaned out a lot," Becker said. "It's got an interesting trunk structure. We chose to leave that open. Sometimes when school groups come here, kids like to climb in that tree."
An evergreen tree -- Becker calls it the Christmas tree -- that sits in a circular planting bed in the middle of the park will also come down this year. It blocks views through the park to Summers Street.