Charleston, the state's capital city, lies in the middle of a narrow valley along the Kanawha Valley. Once, more than 85,000 people called Charleston home.
That can happen again.
Officials with the city Planning Department,the Charleston Urban Renewal Authority and the Charleston Area Alliance worked for 18 months with consultants from LSL Planning and MKSK to develop a plan for the city's future.
Consultants to the Imagine Charleston project drafted the 2013 Downtown Charleston Redevelopment plan"that will allow Charleston to continue to emerge as the cultural, recreational and business center of the Appalachian region," according to the plan.
That ambitious goal involves using existing facilities, such as Appalachian Power Park, and other assets such as the Kanawha River as building blocks.
The study said improved housing is the biggest issue that faces Charleston.
"Charleston's housing stock must be elevated," said Craig Gossman, a principal with MKSK.
That upgrade would be done by private developers who invest in "infill buildings" - new structures on currently unoccupied lots in the city.