Monthly Archive for May 2010
The story below aired Sunday on WSAZ-TV. Click here to view the video.
What once was an old vacant lot is now a place for everyone to enjoy.
Sunday, a dedication ceremony was held for the Mary Price Ratrie Greenspace.
Just across from the Clay Center on Washington Street, the Greenspace offers an escape from urban living.
The space is filled with trees, flowers, rock landscapes and plenty of seating. There are also several waterfalls that are flowing thanks to rain water collected and recycled from a nearby building.
“I like the boulders and I like the green area here,” Ann Winton said. “I like that you can sit and view and I hope they will bring some music in occasionally.”
The Charleston Area Alliance was a driving force behind the project.
“As people come down Leon Sullivan Way, we’ll give them a very positive impression of our community,” President and CEO Matt Ballard said. “For people who live downtown, this is their backyard.”
Federal and state funds along with dozens of private donors are helping to fit the bill for the nearly $3 Million project.
The story below aired Sunday on WCHS.
The view across from the Clay Center just got a little better. The city dedicated its Gateway Greenspace just right over the street from the arts’ center Sunday afternoon.
The nearly $3 million project has been ten years in the making with the Charleston Area Alliance taking a lead role in its construction.
“We wanted an aesthetically pleasing gateway to our community, this is how so many people enter our city, and we wanted people to take ownership in it and consider it theirs,” said Charleston Area Alliance President Matt Ballard.
The project was paid for by number of private donations and grants from the federal, state, and local governments. Second District Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito helped secure much of the funding at the federal level for the green space through several earmarks.
“It’s your tax dollars coming back to you in the form of enrichment and an improvement to our community and our way life,” said the Congresswoman.
During his remarks Mayor Danny Jones recalled places that use to occupy the space on Washington Street East. He invoked the names of Charleston High School and Roger Dean Chevrolet eliciting a few chuckles from the crowd. He also cited the importance of having such a space to greet those coming off of Interstate 64.
“This is the first impression they may have of our city if this is where they arrive in Charleston,” said the Mayor.
The Greenspace is now open for the public to enjoy and includes a number of features including a bike rack, sitting area, and educational zones for children or those looking to learn about plant life in the state.
The story below appeared Saturday on WSAZ-TV. Click here to view the video.
Sunshine made Saturday morning a great time to do some spring cleaning.
Volunteers took some time to help Generation Charleston spruce up along the Kanawha River.
Clean-up crews picked up trashed, cleared ditches and mulched along the Boulevard. Organizers say it’s an effort to keep West Virginia’s Capitol City looking top notch.
Generation Charleston’s mission is to make Charleston a better place to live and for the whole community.
“We really feel it’s important to just make it a better place,” group member Laura Barry said. “These trails get a lot of use, walkers, runners, lots to do out here. We are just trying to clean it up and make it better.”
This marks the second year for the clean-up.
The story below appeared Saturday on WOWK-TV. Click here to view the video.
From cleaning out gutters to picking up trash, the banks of the Kanawha River are looking a little more presentable, courtesy of Generation Charleston. Thirty-five volunteers worked from the Southside Bridge to the 35th Street Bridge.
“These walking trials are a wonderful part of our community, and by cleaning them up, we are encouraging people to come out and use the trails and get some exercise. Come out and enjoy the day,” says Laura Barry, Community Outreach co-captain for Generation Charleston.
Other jobs include mulching and weeding around the plaques along Kanawha Boulevard. For Chris Adams, the project has special meaning.
“As an avid boater, the river is something I’m passionate about, so I think cleaning up the riverbank is something that’s important to the community,” he says.
The mission of Generation Charleston is to make the capitol city a better place to live and work. They say helping clean up the riverbank goes hand in hand with that mission
“It makes it a better place for people to enjoy. You don’t want to come out and spend a day on the river relaxing and have trash all over the place and have mud all over the sidewalks where people run every day,” Adams said.
Several walked by volunteers and thanked them for their efforts. Organizers say seeing people who care about their community gives them the satisfaction of a job well done.
The story below appeared in Sunday’s Gazette-Mail.
By Sara Busse
The much-anticipated Charleston Gateway Greenspace will be dedicated at 1:30 p.m. May 16. A lot has been written and reported about transforming a parking lot into a garden — it’s a beautiful green gem right in the middle of town.
If you haven’t had a chance to stroll along the walkways of this lovely spot, visit soon. Take your kids. Add this to your Clay Center experience. Just go.
Susie Salisbury, Charleston Area Alliance wonderwoman, all-around good citizen and tireless worker, has been one of the forces behind the Greenspace.
“We were starving for downtown greenspace,” Salisbury said. She pointed to several studies that have been done over the past 30 years noting the need for redevelopment of downtown Charleston, with the space around the Clay Center as one of the keys to connecting the state Capitol with downtown.
Salisbury said that the most frequently asked questions early on in the project included parking for the Clay Center and finances. The Clay Center addressed the parking issue by creating a new parking spot in the same block. Money has come from many sources, including several grants from the Federal Highway Administration, CURA, various garden clubs, private donors and many other sources. A major contribution will be announced at the opening ceremony.
Another question often thrown at Salisbury is about lighting — folks are worried about safety at night. On a recent visit, Salisbury pointed out the array of different lighting sources.
“There are LED lights and special-effect lighting on the stream. It will be very well-lit,” Salisbury assured me. (more…)
After years of fundraising and months of construction, Gateway Greenspace, at the corner of Leon Sullivan Way and Washington Street East, is ready for its unveiling.
The grand opening celebration is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. Sunday.
“This is an exciting moment for the Charleston Area Alliance, the City of Charleston and the many organizations who helped make this happen,” said Susie Salisbury, Alliance vice president of community development.
The more than $3 million project has transformed an ordinary asphalt parking lot across from the Clay Center into a slice of West Virginia natural heritage.
Gateway Greenspace presents an attractive entrance into Charleston and will feature educational programming opportunities and links to historic, transportation, environmental and cultural facets of the community.
The sustainible design features include the reuse of an urban site as open space, the use of best management practices – including native plantings – and capturing rainwater to supply the park’s stream and reflecting pool features.
“This project is a much-needed enhancement to the Capital City,” Salisbury said. “It will help connect the downtown and East End areas and will augment the beauty of Charleston, making it a better place to work and live.”
The grand opening event begins with a 1:30 p.m. gathering. The John Adams Jazz Band is scheduled to perform.
The formal program is scheduled to begin at 1:45 p.m., and a butterfly release for children in attendance will follow. Refreshments and greenspace tours also will be available.
West Virginia Chief Justice Robin Davis will be the featured speaker at a June 10 luncheon presented by “Elevations,” the Charleston Area Alliance’s Professional Women’s Network. Chief Justice Davis is the most senior member of the Supreme Court of Appeals.
The luncheon, to be held at the University of Charleston Erma Bryd Gallery, begins at 11:30 a.m. with an optional informal networking reception, followed by lunch and formal presentation at noon.
The mission of the 1,700-member Elevations group is to “enrich, empower and elevate women to achieve success.” Through bi-monthly luncheons and other events featuring high-profile speakers, Elevations provides an affirmative network that connects women with the information, contacts and resources that can help them, their businesses and their communities achieve success. Elevations is presented through the generous support of its title sponsor, The Dow Chemical Company.
Chief Justice Davis was elected to West Virginia’s highest court in 1996 to fill an unexpired term, and was re-elected in November 2000 to a full 12-year term. She previously served as chief justice in 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2007. As chief justice, she has initiated a number of programs which have proved essential to the court’s continuing work with children and families and that have allowed the judicial branch to remain current with the constant changes in technology.
A Boone County native, Chief Justice Davis earned a bachelor’s degree from West Virginia Wesleyan College, and her master’s and law degrees from West Virginia University. She was engaged in the private practice of law from 1982 until 1996. Before her election to the Supreme Court of Appeals, she practiced law at the six-person law firm of Segal and Davis, L.C. She concentrated in the field of employee benefits and domestic relations. In 1993, she became the first lawyer in West Virginia to be inducted into the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. In 1991, the Supreme Court of Appeals appointed her to the seven-person West Virginia Board of Law Examiners, on which she served until 1996.
Sponsor tables of eight are available for $500. Individual tickets are $30 Alliance members/$40 future members through June 5. Prices increase to $40 Alliance members/$50 future members starting June 6.
For more information about a sponsorship table, contact JZacks@CharlestonAreaAlliance.org.
We are unable to invoice for groups with fewer than 10 or issue refunds for cancellations received less than 48 hours prior to the event. Thank you.
Join us from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday for City National Bank’s annual Business After Hours block party.
Click here to register.
Enjoy great food, drinks and the start of summer.
Business After Hours also is an excellent networking opportunity.
Registration for is $15 for Alliance members and $25 for future members.
Online registration for this event ends at noon May 13.
Prices increase to $20 and $30 at the door.To expedite your registration, you may pay online or contact Deb Coffman for more information.
We are unable to invoice for groups fewer than 10 or issue refunds for cancellations received less than 48 hours prior to the event. Thank you.
The Charleston Area Alliance today announced its 2010 College Summit Scholarship recipients.
The winners are: Larissa Adams, Sissonville High School; Adam Cooper, Nitro High School; Attaya Green, Capital High School; and Chelsi Griffith, South Charleston High School.
Funding for three of the scholarships is provided by the Maier Foundation. Generation Charleston, the Alliance’s emerging leaders group, is fundraising for the fourth scholarship this year.
Each student will receive a $2,000 scholarship. In addition, students will receive a gift card their sophomore and junior years to their university bookstores. A gift card to a Charleston Area Alliance member retailer will be provided their senior years to purchase business attire, helping them to present a professional image during job interviews.
The students will be recognized for their achievement at the Alliance’s 2010 Annual Celebration, scheduled for June 3 at The Clay Center.
The Alliance’s Scholarship Selection Committee met earlier this month to review applications and choose the recipients.
“Selecting just four winners from this excellent group of applicants was indeed a challenge, but we all agreed that helping set these students on a course for success was worthy of our hard work,” said committee member John Calvert. “It was a distinct honor to serve on this committee.”
The Alliance began partnering with College Summit in 2006 to provide scholarship opportunities to students participating in College Summit’s Peer Leader workshop. During this workshop, students receive intensive instruction on how to get into college, including working with a writing coach to perfect personal essays, filling out practice college applications, meeting with college counselors and researching financial aid opportunities. These students then return to their high schools to share the information learned in the workshop with peers. In addition to being peer leaders, students must post between a 2.0 and 3.5 GPA and plan on attending a West Virginia college or university.
Since the scholarship program was first implemented, the Charleston Area Alliance has awarded 20 scholarships to low-income high schools students throughout Kanawha County.
“Providing these scholarships is one of the most rewarding things the Alliance does each year,” said Alliance President Matt Ballard. “Creating jobs is vital, but we must have a workforce to help us attract new businesses to locate in the region. I invite everyone to attend our Annual Celebration when we will recognize these students. You will see promise and the future in their eyes.”
To register for the Annual Celebration, visit www.CharlestonAreaAlliance.org/Events.
Contact Julie_Cyphers@Yahoo.com for more information about volunteering.