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Old 05-14-2012, 09:30 PM
 
181 posts, read 84,680 times
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Default Do you think charleston will go under 50,000 in population?

I think it's a little above 50,000 now
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Old 05-15-2012, 06:56 AM
 
Location: Clendenin, WV
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wvu2016 View Post
I think it's a little above 50,000 now
Its really hard to say because nobody knows what the future holds for certain (when it comes to economics). I think Charleston hit its low point about three years ago when it was running right at 51,000. right now business is growing here, but the population numbers haven't come up very much. I say in the next two years we will see more people moving here because by then we will have several new businesses and industries in the valley that are big job creators.

My very bold prediction is that by 2015 The city of Charleston will be back up to around 56,000. I don't think we will ever go bellow 50,000, and I think we will continue to grow because on the natural gas, chemical, medical, and education industries here.
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Old 05-17-2012, 01:17 PM
 
Location: West Cobb County, GA (Atlanta metro)
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Honestly, I think it will continue to drop. People continue to move to the burbs and not a lot of intown additions are happening from what I hear.

Charleston's peak was around 85,000 in 1960 and from that point onward, has seen a loss every single decade. You can see the historical chart of it on the Wiki page halfway down on the right - HERE. When I was born Charleston's population was nearly 80,000 and it's significantly lower than that, now. In order to get a huge influx of inner city residents, larger companies will have to open near residential areas - or mult-level condos that feature the "live/work/play" floorplans (condo upstairs, your business on the main floor) would have to be built.

Cities change, and once they do, it takes decades for changes to occur again, if at all. Atlanta for instance is a commuter city - there aren't even 500,000 people here inside of the city, yet, there are 5.2 million people once you include the surrounding suburbs. As times changed, telecommuting was invented and more families became multi-car families, people have shifted to the suburbs. It took Charleston a little longer than some cities, but it's becoming a commuter city like so many others. So no, I don't thing things will turn around - the Charleston metro area might gain residents over time, but the city proper will continue to drop.
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Old 05-17-2012, 08:12 PM
 
Location: Charleston, WV
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Call me an over-the-top optimist, but I strongly disagree. Charleston was a lot bigger back in the day for several obvious reasons: the metro area wasn't so large and more people hadn't fled the city proper yet, the downtown was booming like any other moderate-sized American city (something I fully believe was swiftly murdered by the Town Center), and the culture as a whole in this city and state was a WHOLE lot more positive. If you ever talk to anyone from the city then, or read things written by mayors and governors and council-folk from the 30s up until the 70s and 80s, people in this city looked at themselves in the same way as other urban dwellers, and with much of the same expectations: they expected that the city would continue to grow, to innovate, to explore the future with rabid enthusiasm. Charleston has always been this state's economic, cultural, and political center, and in so many ways this state as a whole looks to this city as its beacon of hope. I know so many folks in other places in this state (like Beckley for example) who refer to Charleston as "the big city".

Charleston has, up until the past decade or two, always has an aura surrounding it that THIS was THE place in West Virginia to invest in if you loved the city. There have ALWAYS been high expectations. Until recently..

For some reason, the mindset has shifted. I was born and raised in Belle, just outside of Charleston, and I can tell you from 21 years of life that the only expectations this area has (at least in the Upper Kanawha Valley) for that city is...well...nothing. An occasional concert. Some fireworks. THE MALL. Most of the things we do end up taking place in Southridge anyway. Part of the reason is lack of proper marketing. The city does NOT advertise itself outside of the city well at ALL, ESPECIALLY in this end of the valley. Part of it is a general American culture shift. Especially in a rural state like ours.

"The city...that's dangerous."
"There's no parking anywhere..."
"Ugghh, you mean I have to WALK?"
"Why would I want to put up with all the people and traffic downtown, I can drive to Southridge and get everything done."
"Everything closes at 9 anyway, geesh..."


People don't respect Charleston anymore. It's pathetic. People in that city, of ALL places in WV, were always open for change. And, whether really there or just perceived, Charleston, in decades of late, has been caught in a rut of stagnant moping. No one wants to take a risk. And when they do, they've tried to make Charleston into something it's not. New York. San Fransisco. You name it. There's a way to be a progressive, excited-about-the-future city while still maintaining your cultural identity. Look at Knoxville. Look at Chattanooga for Pete's sake. They are firmly in love with their Appalachian culture, but are booming cities of 170,000+ people. (And yes, I understand part of that is their physical city boundaries are larger and both have major universities in them...which is why we have to look at these things (not necessarily annexation, but most certainly growing the student populations of UC and State)).

Our mind set has to change. IT HAS TO. For Charleston to grow, people have to believe in this city once again. We HAVE to re-brand ourselves as an ACTUAL CITY, but one that is firmly in the heart of Appalachia and WV. I thank God that the Charleston Area Alliance exists, because they are the conduit for a bright future in this city. They dream. They care. They understand. And it's got over 600 members! (It's actually the largest regional Chamber of Commerce in the country). Things are on the upswing for Charleston. We're going to level out around 50,000 residents, give or take a thousand or so in either direction. But I believe with everything in me that we're going to grow, and grow a LOT. If we can lose 30,000 people in 40 years, we CAN, if things are done right, gain AT LEAST HALF that back in the same amount of time, if not the whole thing. Especially with technology connecting our hills and hollows with the "outside world" like never before. People will finally know we're here. Heck, we've obviously got the infrastructure to support at least 85,000 because we did it before. My ridiculously bold prediction is that Charleston, by the time I turn 60 in 2050, will have grown to 85,000 again, maybe even 90,000. My dream is to see this place top 100k before I die.

Is it crazy? Absolutely.
Is it impossible?
Not if you get enough people to believe.
And it looks to me like a lot of people in Charleston and the surrounding area are starting to believe again.
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Old 05-18-2012, 06:23 AM
 
Location: Clendenin, WV
3,502 posts, read 2,961,811 times
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Originally Posted by DWDurham View Post
Is it crazy? Absolutely.
Is it impossible?
Not if you get enough people to believe.
And it looks to me like a lot of people in Charleston and the surrounding area are starting to believe again.
This has got to be the best post I've ever seen on any site of any forum I've ever read, seen, heard of, thought about, ect...

hats off to you, bravo!!!

This is the kind of thing I've been talking about for years now on this forum, its just the "out of towners" can't see it happen because they are too stuck in their own worlds. All it takes is a spark, because Charleston already has every advantage it needs to grow. We have here great schools and universities, a strong research, technology, and chemical industry, a good banking and financial center, one of the largest an best hospitals in the region, and outstanding city ammenities such as restaurants, parks, shopping, the Clay Center, Culture Center, Capitol, market, airport, transportation network, ect....

I think this pretty much sums up what you are trying to say!

movie Pear Harbor

FDR stands up for America - YouTube
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Old 05-18-2012, 10:03 AM
 
Location: West Cobb County, GA (Atlanta metro)
9,118 posts, read 20,954,648 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DWDurham View Post
Look at Knoxville. Look at Chattanooga for Pete's sake. They are firmly in love with their Appalachian culture, but are booming cities of 170,000+ people. (And yes, I understand part of that is their physical city boundaries are larger and both have major universities in them...which is why we have to look at these things (not necessarily annexation, but most certainly growing the student populations of UC and State)).

Our mind set has to change. IT HAS TO. For Charleston to grow, people have to believe in this city once again.
A few observations to toss out:

Geography has something to do with it. When I moved to Atlanta 28 years ago, Chattanooga was actually not much better off than Charleston is now. Kind of dirty, drab, dull, and no real reason to visit there. Then came one thing, and seriously, it all started with one thing - the Tennessee Aquarium.

It wasn't just a facility, though - it was done really, really well. And it was the only facility of it's kind (at the time) in the immediate region. So that thing opens up, and then the geography kicks in... Atlanta - two hours away, Knoxville - 1.5 hours away, Nashville - 2 hours away. Chattanooga had an enormous pool of people to draw from to come and visit the new Aquarium that sat on the Tennessee River, and they heavily promoted it in TV and print spots in all of those large market areas. And it worked - very well. So many people from all three of those areas flooded Chattanooga with tourism money, that the Aquarium riverfront area expanded to include a park, Kid's museum, arts district, restaurants, and much more. Their convention center was upgraded... well, I could go on, but you get the idea. The area even today is incredibly popular with tourists and over the years has probably brought billions of dollars to their city. Many Atlantans will even drive to Chattanooga for the day, to avoid the bums/vagrants downtown here, and return that same night. A side-note to consider is that there are a measurable number of people in Chattanooga that actually commute to Atlanta every day for work due to the job pool here. Two hours each way - a lot, but just barely doable if you get the right salary.

Unfortunately, Charleston doesn't have the geographic location to duplicate this. The larger markets (Pittsburgh, Columbus, and Cincinnati), are all at least 3+ hours away which takes them JUST outside of the "day trip tourist" zone. An Aquarium would be nice, or other similar things, but because Charleston has that extra 1 to 1.5 hour drive to get to it, you need something that will attract tourists who are willing to spend the night - not day trippers. People need to brain storm there - figure out what type of attraction or "thing" will cause people from the larger metro areas to drive down to Charleston to see it and spend a night. Think think think - as in Chattanooga's case, it only took ONE thing - the RIGHT thing - to set off a whole domino effect.

Last observation - yes, the mentality there needs to change. Example - appearance. Charleston is not a "landscaped" city. There are a lot of areas within the city that have a very concrete jungle type of appearance to it. Once Chattanooga took off, they took landscaping very seriously - even small shops will spend a few dollar putting potted plant holders outside of them, and small details like trees, shrubs, etc dot everywhere. Capitol and Quarrier Streets look nice - but outside of that zone there's a lot of blight. And if people try to spend money on sprucing things up, people tend to say, "That's a waste of money"... but it leaves an impression on tourists.. who spend money. Making a city visually appealing isn't a waste of money.

Just some observations I'm spouting off.

Last edited by atlantagreg30127; 05-23-2012 at 08:49 AM..
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Old 05-18-2012, 03:32 PM
 
6,351 posts, read 3,801,309 times
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Charleston's fortunes have always been linked with the state's economy. It could have been a much bigger, and wealthier city had the politicians not let all the coal money go out of state.

However, Charleston can grow with the state, and to do that they need to greatly improve the infrastructure and state services in NCWV and the EP. This will cause more economic activity and population in NCWV, which will spread south. The increased economic activity will also booster the state government, the biggest driver of Charleston's economy. As Morgantown and Martinsberg form large metro areas with big cities that link WV to the NE megapolis's Charleston can be a tourist getaway and an artsy state capital, like Austin or Sante Fe.
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Old 05-18-2012, 07:21 PM
 
Location: Clendenin, WV
3,502 posts, read 2,961,811 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atlantagreg30127 View Post
Last observation - yes, the mentality there needs to change. Example - appearance. Charleston is not a "landscaped" city. There are a lot of areas within the city that have a very concrete jungle type of appearance to it. Once Chattanooga took off, they took landscaping very seriously - even small shops will spend a few dollar putting potted plant holders outside of them, and small details like trees, shrubs, etc dot everywhere. Capitol and Quarrier Streets look nice - but outside of that zone there's a lot of blight. And if people try to spend money on sprucing things up, people tend to say, "That's a waste of money"... but it leaves an impression on tourists.. who spend money. Making a city visually appealing isn't a waste of money.

Just some observations I'm spouting off.
I'd have to disagree with this. Charleston has done a great job adding parks, urban gardens, green spaces, and other types of greenry to make it more appealing. The east end alone probably has 15-20 good sized parks, some part of private owned apartment complexes and businesses. I'd say though that the remodeling of the Bus Station and Slack Plaza in downtown (which is happening) will help improve the city.
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Old 05-19-2012, 01:11 AM
 
Location: Charleston, WV
13 posts, read 7,855 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atlantagreg30127 View Post
A few observations to toss out:

Geography has something to do with it. When I moved to Atlanta 28 years ago, Chattanooga was actually not much better off than Charleston is now. Kind of dirty, drab, dull, and no real reason to visit there. Then came one thing, and seriously, it all started with one things - the Tennessee Aquarium.

It wasn't just a facility, though - it was done really, really well. And it was the only facility of it's kind (at the time) in the immediate region. So that thing opens up, and then the geography kicks in... Atlanta - two hours away, Knoxville - 1.5 hours away, Nashville - 2 hours away. Chattanooga had an enormous pool of people to draw from to come and visit the new Aquarium that sat on the Tennessee River, and they heavily promoted it in TV and print spots in all of those large market areas. And it worked - very well. So many people from all three of those areas flooded Chattanooga with tourism money, that the Aquarium riverfront area expanded to include a park, Kid's museum, arts district, restaurants, and much more. Their convention center was upgraded... well, I could go on, but you get the idea. The area even today is incredibly popular with tourists and over the years has probably brought billions of dollars to their city. Many Atlantans will even drive to Chattanooga for the day, to avoid the bums/vagrants downtown here, and return that same night. A side-note to consider is that there are a measurable number of people in Chattanooga that actually commute to Atlanta every day for work due to the job pool here. Two hours each way - a lot, but just barely doable if you get the right salary.

Unfortunately, Charleston doesn't have the geographic location to duplicate this. The larger markets (Pittsburgh, Columbus, and Cincinnati), are all at least 3+ hours away which takes them JUST outside of the "day trip tourist" zone. An Aquarium would be nice, or other similar things, but because Charleston has that extra 1 to 1.5 hour drive to get to it, you need something that will attract tourists who are willing to spend the night - not day trippers. People need to brain storm there - figure out what type of attraction or "thing" will cause people from the larger metro areas to drive down to Charleston to see it and spend a night. Think think think - as in Chattanooga's case, it only took ONE thing - the RIGHT thing - to set off a whole domino effect.

Last observation - yes, the mentality there needs to change. Example - appearance. Charleston is not a "landscaped" city. There are a lot of areas within the city that have a very concrete jungle type of appearance to it. Once Chattanooga took off, they took landscaping very seriously - even small shops will spend a few dollar putting potted plant holders outside of them, and small details like trees, shrubs, etc dot everywhere. Capitol and Quarrier Streets look nice - but outside of that zone there's a lot of blight. And if people try to spend money on sprucing things up, people tend to say, "That's a waste of money"... but it leaves an impression on tourists.. who spend money. Making a city visually appealing isn't a waste of money.

Just some observations I'm spouting off.


I agree with literally everything you pointed out. The Tennessee Aquarium has been in my mind's eye for some time now because it did exactly what you described it doing in exactly that manner. Charleston is close enough for people to make a day trip out of it, however those people would mostly come from with our borders. Our borders hold almost 2 million people though, so let's not forget that we still have a large base to draw from among our own mountains. Charleston definitely needs to find a unique niche like an Aquarium: one or several things that can't be found (either at all or readily) within the state and the region. What that is we all need to figure out. And as much as I want it to be with the downtown area, if it takes something that is within city limits, or even within 5 or 10 miles of downtown, if it helps push people to the city center itself to explore/dine/play/what-have-you, then I'll probably be for it.

What does that look like though? An aquarium would be nice here. But what else could we have? What about a water park? An amusement park? A specialized museum of some sort (like one dedicated to a certain sport, perhaps)? Even on a smaller scale, what are some things that Charleston can bring in (and this is specifically the downtown area, none of that Southridge bullcrap) that could attract folks from, say, Huntington, Fairmont, Elkins, Morgantown, Princteon, etc, to venture an hour or two here to enjoy? Maybe a downtown restaurant that isn't anywhere else in the state, like a P.F. Chang's or Cheesecake Factory? Not a game-changer like the Aquarium by any means, but definitely a conduit for reinvestment in the downtown hub. This is the type of stuff that not only the people in charge need to dwell on, but us as residents and local citizens need to research. Hey, if you can get enough support behind an idea, it can happen a lot more easily and quickly than if you just go in blindly.

Side note, but related: I think the city needs to harness the gift that Laidley Field is to us. In general the city needs to be on topic at getting high quality musicians (i.e., bigger names) to come to this area, but we all know the Civic Center is a joke. I would LOVE to see some outdoor concerts at the Field. If done right, that could really bring awareness to non-locals about the East End Main Street night scene, and help spark interest in Charlestonians and others to visit that area more often.

Heck, I was just talking with a friend earlier as we were walking along the Boulevard about how tragically pathetic the "River City" is in terms of its riverfront. It wouldn't take much to drive some piles into the banks beside the sidewalks along the river and pour concrete slabs on them, widening the sidewalks there 6 or so feet. I would be happy if they were merely wide enough to allow joggers and cyclists to pass one another without having to squeeze by, but imagine if from Haddad down to Magic Island (at least!) the paths by the river were widened to be 10 feet, 15 feet, creating a boardwalk along our river! With the right landscaping, not only would it be a work of art in itself, but so many things could happen in a space like that. It's not insane: Knoxville did the same thing along their riverfront. Even a space like that (or an over-the-top, NICE, city park can bring in people for a few hours from closer towns like Belle, Hurricane, etc. to spend time in the city.

Just some things for us all to be thinking about.
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Old 05-19-2012, 01:29 AM
 
Location: Charleston, WV
13 posts, read 7,855 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atlantagreg30127 View Post


Last observation - yes, the mentality there needs to change. Example - appearance. Charleston is not a "landscaped" city. There are a lot of areas within the city that have a very concrete jungle type of appearance to it. Once Chattanooga took off, they took landscaping very seriously - even small shops will spend a few dollar putting potted plant holders outside of them, and small details like trees, shrubs, etc dot everywhere. Capitol and Quarrier Streets look nice - but outside of that zone there's a lot of blight. And if people try to spend money on sprucing things up, people tend to say, "That's a waste of money"... but it leaves an impression on tourists.. who spend money. Making a city visually appealing isn't a waste of money.

Also, I couldn't agree MORE with this. As someone currently going to school for architecture, I can't stress ENOUGH to people that aesthetics plays a KEY psychological role in the perception of the lifeblood of a city. I've been telling my friend Elliott this for weeks now, that one of the best things Charleston can do to itself, if not the best, in terms of helping its appearance (both physically and psychologically) is to hire some lighting professionals and get our large buildings elegantly lit at night. When the only things lighting up at night are the Elk River Bridge and the United Building, the city does NOT look alive. On the contrary: everything has the perception of being asleep, dead, closed, uninviting. Instead of having a welcoming, beautifully lit skyline (some more local examples would be Louisville or Charlotte), what do we get? The Bifrost from Asgard and a Mecca-like holy box that looks like the United God tossed down from his throne. It's depressing, but oh-so-much potential is there. Especially from the Suntrust Building. You get some copper and gold lights on that thing to accent the SunTrust sign and 1920s architecture of it, and it would easily be one of the most beautiful structures in the region. The city council and mayor NEED to understand that stuff like lighting...parks....underground electric so the power lines are hidden...stuff like that can change the ENTIRE perception of a town. And it boosts local pride in the city, meaning that people are not as easily ready to pack up and leave for "greener pastures".
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