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Tourism Industry Growing In Charleston, Mayor Says
Reported by: Kallie Cart
Videographer: John Tincher
Web Producer: Kallie Cart
Reported: Feb. 25, 2013 10:39 PM EST
Updated: Feb. 26, 2013 9:32 AM EST
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
City officials announced the lineup for the "biggest party in Charleston" on Monday, promising that Festivall will be bigger than ever.
Kathy Matea and Kool and The Gang are among the performers who will be in Charleston during the 10-day event beginning June 21.
Festivall is just one of the many events held in Charleston throughout the year, designed to attract people to the city. City officials have been trying to make tourism a booming industry and that has meant a boom in the hotel industry.
On Monday, the old Long John Silvers restaurant on Kanawha Boulevard was torn down to make way for a new Courtyard Marriott hotel.
"That will be such a beautiful property and you'll be able to see it from the interstate," Mayor Danny Jones says.
The $10 million project is slated to be complete in 2014. And just down the boulevard, the Ramada Inn is undergoing a major transformation.
"We're going to make it the place to come," Keith McClanahan with BBL Hospitality, which is the group renovating and running the hotel, says.
Once the $18 million renovation is complete in November, the hotel will become be a Four Points by Sheraton. The hotel's new sports bar, Recovery Bar and Grill, has already opened on Virginia St. The hotel is considered a key piece of the renovations downtown, with its location behind Hadded Riverfront Park.
"We hope to make it better and have things that the old hotel didn't have. We are going to have condominiums on the 11th and 12th floors and 176 rooms," McClanahan says.
Mayor Jones says years ago he wanted to close Kanawha Blvd. and develop the riverfront, but says he couldn't get everyone on board, so plans shifted.
Jones says the biggest item yet to come is a major overhaul of the Charleston Civic Center. The project that could cost up to $60 million and cost consumers, with a half-cent increase in the sales tax being proposed to fund the project. Jones says the renovations are vital to continue to bring people into the Capital City.
"There's development everywhere, the vision we have for tourism is coming to pass," Jones says.
The Ramada Inn remains open throughout the renovation, with work being done on a third of the building at a time.
The Marriott, Holiday Inn Express and Charleston Town Center have all, also, recently undergone major multimillion dollar renovations.
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