CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- One of the final phases of the East End Community Park on Dixie Street should be finished by next spring, after the Charleston Urban Renewal Authority approved funding a trail and landscaping at its meeting Wednesday morning.
Currently, the front portion of the park is finished and open to the public. It has a path lined with benches and landscaping as well as a pavilion-type shade structure.
The next phase of the park's development involves building an 800-foot, five-foot wide circular trail in the back part of the park, which abuts a railroad line and right of way to the north.
The trail will be lined with trees and be made of finely crushed and compacted stone. Aluminum lining will be placed on the edges of the trail to prevent vegetative growth in the path.
"You wouldn't be able to reach down and pick up a handful," GAI consultant Dave Gilmore said of the proposed trail's composition.
Gilmore said the city of Charleston is willing to provide labor for the park, if CURA can provide materials -- a cost of $45,750, which CURA agreed to pay.
Once the trail is finished, the park will essentially be complete, urban renewal authority Director Jim Edwards said.
"It would look finished," he said. "We could leave it at that point and it would be fine."
As of Wednesday, dirt piles stood on the back of the property where the trail will be built. The dirt will be spread out over the property to create a one-foot barrier between the existing surface and human activity, per Department of Environmental Protection regulations.
Before construction began, the DEP found small amounts of hydrocarbon contamination on the long-vacant lot.
City workers will also be removing a concrete pad on the site before the trail is built.
Future additions, like a playground, horseshoe court or splash pad, can be built on the property if funding is ever available. There's also space nearby for a small parking lot, if a facility becomes needed.
Gilmore said when he has been working at the park, he's noticed residents in the neighborhood already taking ownership of the property.
"It's been fun to watch the street energized as well," he said. "People are literally sitting on their front porches and monitoring this."