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Businesses Set Up Shop At Transit Mall

Reported: Apr. 19, 2014 4:23 PM EDT
Updated: Apr. 19, 2014 8:18 PM EDT

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Katy Brown) -- The past few weeks several people taken out of the Charleston Transit Mall area in handcuffs.

But on Saturday, businesses were coming and setting up shop.

"They're cleaning up the park. We want to be a part of it. We want to be part of the good," Mark Gomez said.

Gomez and his business partner Tim set up their vending truck with All American Mobile on Saturday, offering everything from pulled pork sandwiches to hotdogs to chips and more.

"If we could put legit business over here, can you imagine what it would be like if everybody came down here and really transformed this into a different place," Gomez said.

Slack Plaza is just off of the Charleston Transit Mall, which is an area of downtown Charleston police have been cracking down on.

Four stings conducted by the police led to more than 20 arrests in the past month. The goal for police all along was to clean up the area and make it nicer for people to enjoy.

And so far, it's working.

"More entertainment venues and businesses to the area I think it's a good thing," Matt Lerfald, who passes through the area frequently, said.

Gomez said back in the '80's when the plaza was built, this is how they wanted it to be.They planned for it to be an area to walk through to get to the mall, have a seat and eat, and a place where business could grow.

"They wanted street vendors to come in here. I think there's seven designated spots here," said Gomez

So with room for plenty more, Gomez welcomes the change for Slack Plaza with help from other businesses.

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