Park Place work continues; crews installing wick drains in March

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Work at the future location of Park Place Plaza is going as scheduled as crews continue to place gravel over the 40-acre site.

The shopping plaza, located at the site of the former FMC fly ash pond, is scheduled to open in early 2022. Crews have been working since late last year on creating a two-foot layer of drainage stone with the goal of completing work by the end of March.

Rick Atkinson, South Charleston’s city manager, said contractors will start installing 33,00 wick drains in mid-March. The drains allow water in the fly ash pond to come to the top and drain.

“You can think of the fly ash like a sponge saturated with water like a sponge,” he said. “We put weight on it and it squeezes the water out. This gives a place for the water to go and come up through the pressure into the gravel that we put on.”

Atkinson noted wick drains are optional, although it does speed up the drainage process.

“We’ve got 200,000 tons of gravel down on that fly ash right now. It’s pressing down and the water is coming up,” he added.

Atkinson said work will continue for 18 months before a pause for settling.