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Charleston getting new playgrounds

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Children in Charleston will soon have two new playgrounds and an upgrade to a third.The city's parks and recreation department has ordered playground equipment that will be installed at a lot on Jackson Street in the East End, on Magic Island and along Sugar Creek, director John Charnock said. The Charleston Urban Renewal Authority on Wednesday approved a request from the city's parks and recreation department to use a CURA-owned lot at 1512 Jackson St. as a playground for the Roosevelt Community Center.City officials bought the equipment from Gametime at half the original price but they had to order it before Thursday, Charnock said.The CAMC Foundation will pay for the majority of the approximately $13,000 playground on Jackson Street, Charnock said. KEYS for Healthy Kids is also helping to pay for the equipment.The city will foot the bill for the Magic Island playground equipment -- about $15,000 -- and the $12,000 for the Sugar Creek equipment, Charnock said.Magic Island does not currently have a playground. The equipment at Sugar Creek will replace old equipment there.Children at the Roosevelt Community Center picked out the equipment and the color scheme for the East End playground, Charnock said. The Roosevelt Center does not have a playground currently, he said."There's a playground on Lewis Street, but for the kids from Roosevelt to access it, they have to cross two streets," Charnock said. "That lot on Lewis Street is a lot that the city doesn't own; the city leases [it]. So, you never know if we have to move that stuff or not." CURA officials gave the City of Charleston permission to use the Jackson Street lot and said that they could consider deeding the property to the city at a later meeting.Charnock said city officials haven't discussed whether or not to take ownership of the property, but they plan to do so before CURA's December meeting.The city will build a fence around the Jackson Street lot, which sits in between two apartment buildings, Charnock said.In other business, John McBrayer of the state Division of Highways outlined the agency's plans for a new district headquarters. The new buildings will replace the current District 1 headquarters at 1334 Smith St. in Charleston. District 1 serves Kanawha, Boone, Clay, Mason and Putnam counties.The state Department of Transportation will build a new headquarters and equipment shop. Officials also plan to refurbish the old State Road Commission building.
The current headquarters was intended to be a temporary building, but has been there 35 to 40 years, McBrayer said.
"It's a much-needed project," he said. "We want it to fit in with the city and we want the taxpayers to get their money's worth."The project will cost upward of $20 million and will be spread over a few years, he said."This thing has been in the works for a number of years and we're going to make every dollar count," McBrayer said.Construction will likely start between March and July of next year, he said.The CURA board also approved plans for the renovation of the Casto Technical Services building on Smith Street and Leon Sullivan Way. The building is in one of CURA's urban renewal areas.Casto Technical recently moved the warehouse portion of the business, making more room for office space in the current location, architect Aric<co > Margolis said. Company officials will replace the building's old windows with new ones, and expand its parking lot, Margolis said.
"[We'll] replace existing windows with new commercial store front windows," he said. "These windows on the upper floors are in pretty bad shape -- old metal windows are rusted and leaking."The company will also build a covered outdoor lobby area. They also want to remove the bay door on the building's receiving dock.The renovations will start in January and should be done by mid-summer, Margolis said.The company does not yet have a budget for the project, he said.Reach Lori Kersey at or 304-348-1240.  
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