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Old 10-26-2018, 04:25 AM
 
1,478 posts, read 1,355,872 times
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I think the gambling issue has more to do with backdoor deals than anything else. Of course when we look at it now, the local gambling parlors should've never been allowed. If I'm not mistaken, I think there is still some confusing language if they're even legal or not. I wouldn't mind seeing the Legislature revisit the gambling machine issue and tightening up the guidelines and eliminating the local parlors.

Hemp farming and the pot industry has helped many communities across the country, both in tax revenue and in bringing jobs to areas that had limited economic opportunities and industries.
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Old 10-26-2018, 05:42 AM
 
Location: Martinsburg, West Virginia
1,075 posts, read 1,750,486 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aeros71 View Post
How much redevelopment has happened inside the core of Martinsburg? We're all aware of the amount of housing that has been built in the area in the past couple of decades but I don't remembering reading or hearing about much inside Martinsburg. Also, I haven't visited Martinsburg in about 15 years, so that is my last basis of comparison.
Good point. Hardly any, but that's partially due to the lack of available land within the city. 95% of the development has been outside of downtown.

Downtown Martinsburg's crime and prostitution reputation hasn't help things either.

However, I'll counteract that by saying there has been a recent (within the past 3 years) upswing in redevelopment of commercial space along King and Queen Streets downtown. Some new bars, arts and a couple of new restaurants have popped up in previously abandoned, historic buildings.

DC-area (and from elsewhere) entrepreneurs who have either moved here or visit frequently are starting to take risks and set up shop...bringing with them fresh, hip ideas and spaces. This is even more prevalent in Shepherdstown and somewhat Charles Town.

The most recent example is Brix 27: Brix 27 – Wine Bar & Restaurant | Martinsburg WV

From my observations, people are gradually starting to accept the idea of "staying downtown" again. Also, the new Martinsburg police chief is doing an EXCELLENT job cleaning up the streets and drug houses. I wish we had 50 of him to distribute across the state.

Similar momentum would be GREAT for Charleston...the question is how to get it there.
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Old 10-26-2018, 06:26 AM
 
435 posts, read 249,282 times
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The only ideas I can come up with for Charleston is to fund and turn Mt Stage into something that gets really good national acts on a weekly basis. Grow brew pubs and restaurants tourism around that. Turn the Town Center into an indoor adult activity center with indoor mountain biking, climbing, kayaking, running, swimming etc and grow the hell out of UC. Probably pie-in-the-sky thinking but who knows. An aquatic center for swimming related events could probably go in the ctc too. The ctc has such a large footprint and there’s plenty of available space downtown already. I hope they don’t chop the ctc up with offices and hotels and ironically limit what could be done with the space. But as others have rightly noted Charleston is so isolated that I’m not sure what it would take to get people to go out of their way to visit much less bring in businesses or move here.
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Old 10-26-2018, 01:44 PM
 
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I like the idea of growing Mountain Stage into something larger. Why not aspire to be like Austin City Limits? The CTC would certainly give the room to have a larger performance space. I know we have the municipal auditorium and The Clay Center but what about something like Home - Mill And Mine in Knoxville Tennessee? Or 20 Monroe Live in Grand Rapids Michigan?

I like the idea of an adult activity center that JohnNada suggested. Perhaps pair that with something like a Dave and Busters or Main Event Entertainment Center to give more options and draws to the area?
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Old 10-26-2018, 01:47 PM
 
1,478 posts, read 1,355,872 times
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Originally Posted by mmccul View Post
Good point. Hardly any, but that's partially due to the lack of available land within the city. 95% of the development has been outside of downtown.

Downtown Martinsburg's crime and prostitution reputation hasn't help things either.

However, I'll counteract that by saying there has been a recent (within the past 3 years) upswing in redevelopment of commercial space along King and Queen Streets downtown. Some new bars, arts and a couple of new restaurants have popped up in previously abandoned, historic buildings.

DC-area (and from elsewhere) entrepreneurs who have either moved here or visit frequently are starting to take risks and set up shop...bringing with them fresh, hip ideas and spaces. This is even more prevalent in Shepherdstown and somewhat Charles Town.

The most recent example is Brix 27: Brix 27 Wine Bar & Restaurant | Martinsburg WV

From my observations, people are gradually starting to accept the idea of "staying downtown" again. Also, the new Martinsburg police chief is doing an EXCELLENT job cleaning up the streets and drug houses. I wish we had 50 of him to distribute across the state.

Similar momentum would be GREAT for Charleston...the question is how to get it there.

I'm not sure what the answer is either. Perhaps it'll take more of the younger generation taking the risk of creating a new scene, like you mentioned about the DC area entrepreneurs. I think the city and county must also do more to clean up the area. We don't need trash lying around, busted up sidewalks, dirt everywhere, weeds poking out, etc. We need to do more to make the area 'look' better and more welcoming. That first impression is everything.
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Old 10-27-2018, 07:52 AM
 
690 posts, read 422,144 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aeros71 View Post
I'm not sure what the answer is either. Perhaps it'll take more of the younger generation taking the risk of creating a new scene, like you mentioned about the DC area entrepreneurs. I think the city and county must also do more to clean up the area. We don't need trash lying around, busted up sidewalks, dirt everywhere, weeds poking out, etc. We need to do more to make the area 'look' better and more welcoming. That first impression is everything.

There is a lot more going on here than the possible - nothing is concrete yet - loss of Macy's and subsequently JC Penney's. To be in the details, while JC Penney may have the contract to leave if Macy's does may not mean that JC Penney's will exercise that option. That contract was written when the economy was far less robust and Town Center had just gone into receivership - everything looked bleak and it was smart to craft a fire escape.

The problem for Macy's is not Town Center, which has done everything it's power to placate the upscale department store, rather the problem is Macy's outdated business model corporate-wide. Watch who shops there...he is a hint...no one not collecting Social Security shops there. I do not mean to imply those are poor shoppers, they aren't. Rather they are programed shoppers just used to doing things a set way and they have the money to continue to live that way. These people still have cable subscriptions with all the channels - just because. They don't watch more than 4 channels, but they pay for them all.

Sears fell into this same trap and just like Sears, Macy's days are as numbered as the age of its customers advance. The younger, well-to-do shoppers buy online and have purchases picked up at home or possibly a store pickup and many of them shop at better chains than Macy's. JC Penney flirted at the edge of this cliff too, but someone in their corporate structure veered that company away and their sales are looking much better. They have still not completely found the path to the future, but they are getting there.

Astype this many thoughts come to mind about this problem and we have on occasion hammered the mayor, CURA and a smattering of others we feel bear some or all of the blame for obvious missteps on problems that seem so clear to us.

There are two ways to develop an urban or central business district, with one of those options used what must seem like a virtual 99.9% of the time - the seed method otherwise known as; "If we build it, they will come." This can work in the right setting in spite of the cost involved in but Charleston and other cities on this scale and scope are not well suited for this setting - in my opinion.

A city like Charleston has some serious issues, it has a small population in a large-ish county that has a domineering county commissioner and shares that environment with a smattering of other incorporated towns. Even this is not all of the picture, the entire county sits in a state that is at best run with a modicum of wisdom.

The problem with the seed method is that it takes money and a lot of time. After waiting through multiple mayoral terms, the money may be there and the plan can finally be put into motion. But is it still the right plan? Charleston has been working from a large plan undertaken in 1980 and altered very little. Two generations have come and gone and we are working on a third and still the city is putting money into an archaic plan created in the 1970's for unveiling in 1980.

Some of the effort has paid off, Town Center was a boon and survived three decades of gross corruption at the hands of Forest City and the eventual backstabbing the city took over it.

The Civic Center has finally be refurbished, which was proposed in 1980 and it looks to be an enormous success.

Haddad River Front park was actually meant to run from the Capitol Steps to Patrick Street Bridge but was cut back to almost nothing, limiting its scope to about 150 in front of the CBD.

Power Park just sort of happened when the Charleston Charlies pulled up stakes and left Watt Powell an echoing relic from another age.

Slack Plaza was built when the social engineering elitists decided that the "little people" wanted to commute on smelly, cheap busses and congregate at a transit terminal in what used to be Charleston's Red Light District.

Then there is the Clay Center, which was not part of the original plan but has perhaps proven to be a hidden gem that is under represented and under utilized.


Perhaps the worst thing about the 1980 plan was the horrendous decision to build subsidized housing in the CBD.

Most of these programs smack of socialist utopianism and everywhere such things are tried the return on investment is poor if not a complete bust. For Charleston it has mostly been a bust.

Small cities cannot take the seed approach and win often enough to make it meaningful in the long run. The 1 or 2 successes are more than countered by the series of costly failures in between.

The problem as I stated earlier is money and time for a city like Charleston. There will never be enough money and time waits for no one.


The second method; soil - says, "Don't bother with either."


Rather than Charleston trying to spend money it doesn't have it needs to convince others to spend money that they have. Instead of setting out a master plan, set out a master zoning plan that can be customized at an instant.

The nation right now is awash in money looking for places to be invested - note, not thrown away. So how does Charleston do that? Simple. Destroy the B&O tax structure and eliminate the Hotel/ Entertainment tax.


I have hit on this before and it seems to go under the radar here because it is not bricks and mortar.

Charleston needs to create an environment that makes business want to be here and they should be here. Charleston has something that cannot be bought - LOCATION. But it has also put out the STAY AWAY sign in the form of the B&O tax, which taxes gross asset value of a company. A company can try to do business in Charleston and go completely under and still owe massive amounts of taxes. Most tax structures are based on point of sale on net receipts. Even that setup is a poor one in my opinion.

If I were trying to right Charleston I would graduate towards an employment tax and give the businesses a completely free ride. I would want to tax payroll not bills of lading. The sticky part would be the move from the old to new structures. Several scenarios suggest themselves but all are doable.

In the end you want to create the environment - the soil - to use the analogy, to promote growth. Then, the city can plant a seed or two of its own down the road. The problem with the soil method is when the city gets lazy and hooked on growth that becomes uncontrolled and undirected.

But, before all of this, the city has to wipe the feces off of its face. Candidate Akers has suggested just such an effort in his debate remarks of last week. He is the first person at his level I have heard mention this - doing away with the Transit Terminal - nothing moving it elsewhere, but actually ending its existence. I salute that move. The Transit Terminal has been a big pile of dog doo steaming away in the heart of the city drawing every pest it can.

I think another issue is that Charleston is One-way street crazy. One Way streets take people off the sidewalk and that is a bad thing.

I could go on, but I have let this simple post ramble and go on for far too long. I need to stop sucking up the air and let smarter people than me have the chance to share their views.
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Old 10-27-2018, 10:11 AM
 
1,478 posts, read 1,355,872 times
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Remember, Appalachian Power Park and The Clay Center happened because of the Economic Development Grant Committee under Bob Wise. Without those grants, I don't know if we would have the ballpark and Clay Center today because I don't think the city and the county would've had enough money and clout to make both happen on their own.

I'm not sure if eliminating the transit terminal is the right move. Plenty of other cities have transit terminals and they work just fine. Perhaps a redevelopment of the terminal is a better move, along with examining how the public transit system operates.
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Old 10-27-2018, 12:25 PM
 
690 posts, read 422,144 times
Reputation: 327
Quote:
Originally Posted by aeros71 View Post
Remember, Appalachian Power Park and The Clay Center happened because of the Economic Development Grant Committee under Bob Wise. Without those grants, I don't know if we would have the ballpark and Clay Center today because I don't think the city and the county would've had enough money and clout to make both happen on their own.

I'm not sure if eliminating the transit terminal is the right move. Plenty of other cities have transit terminals and they work just fine. Perhaps a redevelopment of the terminal is a better move, along with examining how the public transit system operates.

The issue goes back to my main point of scale. Cities where they work are either much large so there is a diluted affect and many options to collect the "wrong sort" or they are much smaller and any location where bus lines over lap is a defacto transit point. Charleston is one of those cities, like many its size, it is large enough to have dedicated amenities but small enough to only need one.


The transit mall idea is one that makes logical but not practical sense. This is compounded by the very real side factor that crime follows bus lines. If you create a nexus for such bus lines, crime is going to converge there. In larger cities that have such transit points, they do have crime at them, but they have several points that congregate crime. Charleston being smaller, we see nearly all of that crime focus at the transit mall.
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Old 11-01-2018, 05:25 PM
 
Location: 304
5,056 posts, read 6,740,350 times
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Anyone notice that a Jimmy Johns is opening in the former Enterprise in Kanawha City? They've done some significant work to that building and have installed a drive thru. I didn’t see anything on this. Is this a new business or are they moving from their Capital Street location?

A lot of buildings in Kanawha City are being remodeled right now and a few new businesses have opened up. KC continues to lead the city in development IMO.

Still no ground broken on the supposed strip in front of Shops at Kanawha.
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Old 12-19-2018, 05:02 AM
 
Location: 304
5,056 posts, read 6,740,350 times
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Just wanted to comment that Charleston’s choices for local/small businesses is excellent! Elk City is exploding with new things. Books and Brews and Mia Cuppa opened recently. I also went inside the new Buck and Belle store on Summers St. It was small, but had some very nice items. I bought a nice wooden state of WV wall hanging. Owners are very nice. The best thing about our city is the atmosphere you get at some of these mom and pop shops and restaurants.
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