Charleston Parking Garage Receives a Facelift

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Charleston organizations work together to install hanging flower boxes at a downtown parking garage

Charleston, W. Va. – A City of Charleston parking garage is now “in bloom” thanks to several Charleston organizations. The Dickinson Street garage received 22 hanging flower boxes located on the corners of Dickinson and Quarrier Streets, and Dickinson and Virginia Streets. 

The Charleston Traffic Department installed the boxes today, Tuesday, June 2. On Friday, June 5, volunteers will plant flowers upon completion of the installation. 

In 2019, Barbara Rose, with the Kanawha Garden Club, reached out to Susie Salisbury, VP of Community Development at the Charleston Area Alliance, to develop a beautification project for downtown Charleston. Inspired by the City of Huntington’s parking garage project, which included the installation and maintenance of large flower boxes on the sides of a downtown parking garage, the two contacted Terri Allen, Parking Director for the City of Charleston, and together the group forged ahead to bring the project to fruition. The committee received guidance from Huntington in Bloom, an organization dedicated to making improvements and beautifying Huntington, W.Va., and developed a budget and plan to launch a similar project in Charleston. 

The Kanawha Garden Club invested $4,000 in the parking garage flower box project. The Charleston Area Alliance allocated $1,000 to the project as part of a grant received from the Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation. Catalyst Ministries donated 50 bags of potting soil to the project and special thanks to Charleston Steel and Gritt’s Midway Greenhouse for also contributing their services to the flower box project.

“Kanawha Garden Club is delighted to partner with the City of Charleston, Charleston Area Alliance and others to install flower boxes in downtown Charleston,” said Elizabeth Keightley, President of the Kanawha Garden Club. “As the KGC nears our centennial in 2021, what better way to celebrate than to once again join in efforts to beautify our community?”

“This is a beautiful example of how organizations can collaborate to bring a positive addition to Charleston’s downtown,” said Susie Salisbury, VP of Community Development for the Charleston Area Alliance. “We hope the flower boxes 1will brighten people’s days and spur interest to add planters at other downtown facilities.”

In addition to the Charleston Parking Authority providing garage space for the boxes, the team will water the flowers six days a week.

 “The City of Charleston was thrilled to be part of this initiative to make the garage at our City Service Center more vibrant,” said Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin. “As folks cross the South Side Bridge, they will have a pleasant welcome to our Capital City.”

Ben Franklin Career Center’s Construction Students assembled the flower boxes. Fortunately, the boxes were completed before the COVID-19 pandemic closed the school; however, the welding class wasn’t able to complete the brackets needed for installation. Instead, welding instructor, Carl Spitzer, graciously fabricated the steel brackets amidst hindrances brought on by COVID-19. 

“We are thankful for the opportunity to assist with this worthy project for the City of Charleston, ” said Louis Mynes, Company Owner with Ben Franklin Construction/ Ben Franklin Career Center. “The project allowed students to receive real-life work experiences through direct communication with a customer, and students had the opportunity to practice time management in the shop.”