CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – The City of Charleston secured some competitive federal funding that’ll go towards a big infrastructure project. The RAISE (Rebuilding America’s Infrastructure for Sustainability and Equity) grant is worth $1.75 million and will go toward the Capital Connector Project to transform the Kanawha Boulevard and more.
At almost any time of the day you see people walking, running, or even riding their bikes on the Boulevard, but the reason the city and state leaders fought so hard for this funding was for their safety.
Friends Toni Bennett and Jeanie Fletcher have been walking along the Kanawha Boulevard for 20 years.
And while most of their memories are good, some have a been bit scary.
“And she’s hollering ‘run, run, run!’ and I’m sitting there saying, he’s going to hit us, he’s going to hit us!” says the pair reminiscing. “And she grabs me and she throws me over the hill, and she falls down.”
But if city, state and federal leaders have their way Toni and Jeanie’s daily walk should be a lot safer in the future. Within the next several years a project called the Capitol Connector will construct 3.75 miles of pedestrian and bicycle paths from magic island to the 35th Street bridge.
“It should not be difficult to get from the west side, to the east end, to Kanawha City, to South Hills to North Charleston, and with this planning grant, it won’t be,” said Charleston Mayor Amy Goodwin.
It will also transform the city’s riverfront something those in the community are excited about.
“I mean this is a really beautiful street and it’s popular, people walk and run on this street so I think that’s awesome,” said Amy Hayes.
Right now the project is still in the planning phase and there are no firm dates for when it could open.
“This is going to be several years in the making. You’re going to watch this riverfront and this Kanawha Blvd just totally transform itself,” added Goodwin.