Charleston City Council voting on Blaine Boulevard study next Monday

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — When the Charleston City Council meets Monday, council members will consider allocating funds for studying improvements to a North Charleston road damaged by slippage.

Residents of Blaine Boulevard have pushed city officials to address problems with the road, which has only one lane of traffic because of cracks and damage. More than 40 people spoke about the matter on Thursday during a public forum at the North Charleston Community Center.

During the meeting, Charleston Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin said the vote would likely happen next month, but she later announced action would instead take place during Monday’s council meeting after receiving feedback from city officials. Multiple council members at the forum spoke in favor of sponsoring the related measure.

Anne Hendricks and her husband Robbie have lived on Blaine Boulevard for 37 years and attended Thursday’s forum. They have known about slippage problems for years, but the matter did not become endangering until 2019.

The slippage has also affected their home.

“We’ve been sealing the cracks on our walk and our porch, but they are still separating again, so we had to reseal again,” she explained. “In the living room, we have a crack in our wall. With our kitchen, it’s I have none. I haven’t had a kitchen in a year because we don’t want to put the money into it if we don’t know what they are going to do with our road.”

Councilmember Pat Jones, who represents North Charleston, has been vocal about addressing the slippage. He pushed city officials to use coronavirus relief funding for the project, but he later learned the project would cost more than the $5 million limit.

“You know, it’s just 14 houses,” he said. “It doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s 14 families and a church.”

The city would put $485,000 toward studying the project and related design efforts.

Jones and Blaine Boulevard residents are also optimistic about the possibility of securing federal funds. Representatives with U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., informed forum attendees about a possible change related to streambank and shoreline protection. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee — of which Capito is the ranking member — approved increasing the maximum investment from $5 million to $10 million. The full Senate would have to pass the change.

“I never thought I was going to hear what I heard,” Jones said about the congressional action.

He continued, “Just give these people on Blaine Boulevard some hope. When you just keep shoving it to the side and they never hear any good — this gave them some hope tonight.”

Hendricks was among the people excited about a possible solution.

“I think everybody here was really willing to help us today. I feel good about it,” she said. “If I have a guarantee, I could go ahead and start back on my kitchen.”

Council members Becky Ceperly, Jennifer Pharr and Jeanine Faegre were among the representatives who announced they would sponsor the study. The Charleston City Council meeting on Monday will begin at 7 p.m. at Charleston City Hall.