CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A project to light the Elk City District of Charleston’s West Side is coming to fruition after being four years in the making.
Officials with Charleston Main Streets (CMS), Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), City of Charleston, and other local partners gathered on Indiana Avenue Monday to unveil a $483,500 lighting infrastructure project.
The West Side Gateway Lighting Project is an LED lighting installation that will illuminate parts of West Washington Street and its surrounding buildings. Ric Cavender, Executive Director of CMS spoke to 580-WCHS following the announcement.
“Over the course of the next 12-18 months, you’ll see the lamp posts here on Washington Street West starting from Pennsylvania Avenue down to Maryland Avenue come out and be replaced with more ornate and modernized LED lighting,” he said.
Cavender said the project will not only modernize the streets but enhance public safety in the area. The lights will shine on the streets but also shine up onto the buildings.
ARC Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin, Charleston Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin, and representatives from the offices of U.S. Senators Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito all spoke during the ceremony. Joshua Williamson, a Professor of Lighting Design at WVU, Steve Kawash with the McGee Foundation, Todd Dorcas the Community Economic Development Program Officer with the Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation, and Jon Webster with the Appalachian Power/AEP Foundation all spoke too.
“The West Side Gateway Lighting Project will strengthen our city’s aesthetic and infrastructure—further promoting growth and development, in existing and new investments as well as tourism,” Mayor Goodwin said in a release. “The City of Charleston looks forward to working with Charleston Main Streets and its partners on this robust lighting project.”
Cavender said the project is four years in the making as Williamson has been the initiative’s main consultant since its inception in 2018.
Work on the lighting project has already begun, with CMS now seeking engineering bids for the first phase, which will include the development of a master plan and construction designs. The plan will involve replacing existing lamp posts with LED streetlamps designed to reflect the historic character of Elk City. In total, the project is projected to take 12 to 18 months to complete.
The donations for the project included $200,000 from The McGee Foundation, $100,000 from the ARC, $100,000 from the Appalachian Power/AEP Foundation, and $50,000 from the Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation, Cavender said.
Cavender noted in February that the Charleston City Council approved an MOU between the city and CMS for the city to be the project administrator.