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Business ban for East End advances

A measure that would ban specific types of businesses on Washington Street East in Charleston was again advanced out of the Charleston Urban Renewal Authority during a meeting on Wednesday.

It will now go to city council's Urban Renewal Committee for consideration before being passed on to the full council, said Lori Brannon, a city neighborhood planner.

The plan, which was passed by the renewal authority board members in early August, would prohibit strip clubs, adult book and video stores, pawn shops, check cashing establishments other than banks, gun shops and gambling parlors along Washington Street East from Sidney to Morris streets.

CURA approved the measure before it was sent to Municipal Planning Commission on Aug. 8. That agency then approved it and sent the measure back to the authority.

"They (Municipal Planning members) found that it is consistent with the city's comprehensive plan," said Jim Edwards, Urban Renewal Authority executive director.  

"We've received lots of really positive feedback from the community," said Dickinson Gould, an East End Main Street board member who attended Wednesday's meeting.

Business owners in the neighborhood also support the measure, East End Main Street Executive Director Ric Cavender said.

The motion to pass the ban was unanimously approved.   

Members of the authority board also received an update on the public art plan for the city.

Charleston Area Alliance Senior Vice President Susie Salisbury, who is also a city councilwoman, discussed the public art plan.

The Urban Renewal Authority voted to provide $25,000 to help fund a project to catalogue public art throughout the city in April 2011.

The plan also calls for officials to draft requirements for future public art projects, as well as to come up with ways to maintain the public art already in the city, Salisbury said.

The Charleston Area Alliance agreed to provide $25,000 to fund the project and the city also gave $25,000. The money is being used to match a $50,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

One of the goals is to establish guidelines for the maintenance of the numerous pieces of public art around the city, pieces that are both privately and publicly owned, Salisbury said.

Charleston Area Alliance has set aside $20,000 to leverage additional funding to maintain publicly owned pieces of art, she said.

She also hopes to sit down with people and companies that own pieces of art that can be seen publicly to discuss maintenance.

Public art, such as the murals on the piers under Interstate 64, sculptures and even the tiny Mortar Man on Capitol Street, are viewed as assets to the community. Many people turned out for the art walks during FestivALL to see the pieces.

Salisbury thought the public art walking tours held during the June festival would not be well attended because of the high temperatures. However, she was pleasantly surprised.

"I stopped counting when 125 people showed up," she said.

The alliance also published a book featuring 45 pieces of public art in the city, and a second version could be on the way.

"We've had some interest in people wanting to sponsor the second book," she said.

The second version of the public art book would also feature new pieces of public art including the recently painted murals on the piers under Interstate 64 at the corner of Kanawha Boulevard and Pennsylvania Avenue.

Salisbury ordered about 5,000 of the first editions and has very few left, she said.   

Contact writer Paul Fallon at paul.fallon@dailymail.com or 304-348-4817. Follow him at www.twitter.com/PaulBFallon. ;


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