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Davis Park to be spruced up

By Paul Fallon
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Davis Park in Charleston's Village District will be getting a facelift this fall thanks to the Kanawha Garden Club and city employees.The plan to revitalize the park, which is across from the old Diamond Building, was presented to the Charleston Municipal Beautification Commission during Tuesday's meeting. Commission member Barbara McCabe said city workers should begin pruning trees in the park sometime in November.McCabe is the wife of Brooks McCabe, a state senator from Kanawha County. Pruning the trees will give the park a cleaner look and allow people a clear line of sight through the area. Other trees, such as the Sophora tree next to the giant yew tree on the Virginia Street side of the park, will be removed, McCabe said.The benches around the park will also be disassembled, power washed, stained and then replaced, she said. City workers will remove all of the existing bushes around the benches.Variegated liriope, a purple flowering plant, will be planted in the beds, McCabe said.The Kanawha Garden Club will pay for the flowers and the bench work, she said. McCabe is the community projects chairwoman for the Kanawha Garden Club.  McCabe expects that it will cost about $7,800 to complete the bench portion of the project.The large boxwoods in the oval bed in the interior of the park will also be removed. These boxwood shrubs will be planted at various locations in the long beds along Capitol and Lee streets, she said.The oval bed will be cleaned, she said.Then, smaller boxwoods will be planted in the oval bed as will a "profusion" of tulips or pansies, McCabe said. This will make the interior of the park much more colorful come spring.
"That park could really be a gem," McCabe said.McCabe is also hoping city workers will replace bulbs in the streetlights inside the park soon. City workers should be placing brighter bulbs in the park."We want to entice people to come into the park," she said.The large pine tree near the gazebo side of the park is also to be removed this fall, McCabe said. Flowers will also be placed in this bed, she said. A general cleanup will also be conducted at the park, she said.   
The park project will be done in three phases, taking about three years to complete, according to McCabe. The garden club will be soliciting funds from businesses in the Village District to help fund the future phases of the project, she said.Any donations for the project can be sent to the Kanawha Garden Club, in care of Barbara McCabe, 1223 Staunton Road, Charleston, WV 25314.The members of the Beautification Commission unanimously voted to allow the garden club to move forward with the first phase of the project. McCabe abstained from the vote since she is also a member of the garden club.Robert L. Nistendirk, a certified public accountant in Charleston, also attended the meeting to discuss beautification of the city's riverfront. Nistendirk is representing a group of citizens that are hoping to raise around $5 million to beautify the riverfront from Patrick Street to 35th Street.Nistendirk declined to name any of the citizens. The group hopes to raise the funds to plant some sort of vegetation along the north bank between the river and Kanawha Boulevard.Around $2.5 million would be used to plant the vegetation. The remaining funds would be used to maintain the plants, he said. Currently the group has not yet decided on what to plant along the riverbank.
Nistendirk told the commissioners that the group would focus on a specific area, such as the land between Haddad Riverfront Park and Magic Island, if they could not raise the money for the full project.Nistendirk said the group would hold off on any fundraising efforts until the members can decide what to plant along the riverbank. The Beautification Commission took no official action on the matter.     
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