SOUTH CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – The Jefferson Road expansion project races forward in South Charleston, but neighbors say construction has completely deprived their sense of community.
When construction began a few years ago, the state of West Virginia bought out dozens of homes in the area to be torn down. This was done to make room for the expanded road.
Several homes in the Jefferson Park neighborhood have been sold or are currently up for sale, out of fear that the city will buy them out eventually.
South Charleston Mayor Frank Mullens spoke with 13 News and says the city is not currently asking residents to leave the Jefferson Park neighborhood as construction continues. Mullens adds that residents are welcome to sell their homes to the city if they would like to leave, but there is no order in place for anyone to leave.
Andrew Morocco, a man who bought a home in the neighborhood just two years ago, shares this concern.
“The hardest part is not knowing exactly what’s gonna happen,” Morocco said. “We don’t know whether we have six months left in the house, whether we have five years, or 20 or 30. Some of these people have lived here their entire lives. And now they’re expected to be uprooted? It’s not really fair. Destroying a neighborhood is not exactly progress. For the sake of building hotels and more shopping, it just doesn’t make any sense to uproot people from a home they’ve built, from a life they’ve built, to make a dollar. It just doesn’t make any sense.”
Mayor Mullens says there is active interest from businesses to open up in the surrounding areas nearby the road construction.