CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Kanawha City residents packed into the basement of Westminster Presbyterian Church to hear about progress on a new center to benefit cancer patients and changes to the community's main thoroughfare.
This and other community projects were discussed Thursday evening at the Kanawha City Community Association's annual meeting.
"Stay tuned -- there are lots of changes coming," said Rick Burka, Association president.
Consultants from GAI talked about ways to reconnect Kanawha City neighborhoods to its main street, MacCorkle Avenue, while Michael Browning gave an update on CAMC's new Cancer Center.
David Gilmore, senior land development services manager with GAI Consultants, presented ideas to get Kanawha City more pedestrian friendly and greener.
"We started to look backward before we could move forward," Gilmore said.
He reminded the crowd that when MacCorkle Avenue was constructed it was the main route from the southern coalfields to the capital city without an interstate system or turnpike.
"It [MacCorkle] doesn't need to be a freeway, and that's what we're trying to get it back to," Gilmore said.
For the last year, GAI Consultants brainstormed with business owners, city officials and community members about what they would like Kanawha City to look like. They focused on the areas' culture, environmental makeup, topography and transportation.
Gilmore presented ideas rather than a definitive construction plan. The hope is Charleston City Council takes the ideas from the presentation to secure grant money to give the concepts legs.
"Kanawha City is lucky, it is one of the few communities that's flat," Gilmore said. "It really frees us up to do a lot of interesting things."
The MacCorkle Avenue Redesign Project would look to break Kanawha City's main corridor from CAMC Memorial Hospital down to the shopping area at 57th Street into districts.
Each district would focus on its unique attributes as professional or medical. Gilmore said the districts could easily be achieved with some additional zoning code changes.
By reducing the size of MacCorkle Avenue, the redesign project would look to increase the size of sidewalks, replace current "industrial-looking" streetlights with more residential-style lights, add trees along the roadway with additional green space projects and modify some parking.