WCHS Eyewitness News Home Charleston Eyewitness Newsroom Charleston Storm Team Weather Sports News TV Program Schedule Community Mobile: Smartphone,Tablet and SMS text Get Connected SMS Text Facebook Twitter See-It,Shoot-It RSS News Feed Email List Tumblr

Will Transit Mall Improvements Work?

Reported: May. 5, 2014 10:58 PM EDT
Updated: May. 6, 2014 10:16 AM EDT

News Image

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Kera Mashek) Several improvements are planned to Charleston's transit mall area. But the question remains as to whether any of the improvements will actually make a difference to improve that location.

In the past six months, there have been at least six raids by Charleston Police at the transit mall, with dozens of people being hauled off in handcuffs. A lot of people in the community are pleased to see the police being proactive in what's been seen as a trouble spot downtown for years.
Not everyone's convinced the arrests are making a difference, but the police chief insists the increased presence and the planned improvements to Slack Plaza will help.

Eyewitness News talked with three men who frequent the transit mall area, and all three openly admitted they've been arrested at the plaza by Charleston Police. They don't entirely agree with what they see as an unfair target put on Slack Plaza by the police recently, but they do think the area's had its fair share of problems that should be addressed..

"This is a good area..could be a good area," said Steven Lee of Charleston.

But the beefed up police presence isn't stopping.

In fact, minutes after we talked with Steven Lee, Charleston Police showed up and Lee got arrested for an outstanding felony warrant. Officers also slapped cuffs on another man for open container and public intoxication.

Charleston Police say the arrests are aimed at weeding out criminal activity at the transit mall. But it doesn't seem like the message is soaking in. Less than an hour after the intoxicated suspect was arrested, Eyewitness News caught him walking out of the Charleston Police Department a free man, and telling our cameras he needed to go buy beer.

"But if I go drinking around here I'll get busted won't I?" the man said.

Eyewitness News asked Charleston Police Chief Brent Webster, "What's the point of doing this if people are going to go back and continue to re-offend, and be at the transit mall causing problems?"

"That's true and that's the challenge for our people. They're not going to go to jail for very long but we want to send a message to the public that it's safe, and we're paying attention, and to the nuisance people, that stay out of there and if they don't want to go to jail for the night or for a few hours, they're best off going somewhere else out of the public eye," Chief Webster said.

While the arrests might only be making a small dent in the problems at the transit mall right now, Chief Webster is still optimistic. He says the improvements the city's planning to the plaza are a big step in the right direction.

"We're real excited about the long term plans the city is talking about because we truly believe that in other urban areas, when you redevelop the plaza and make it more inviting to the good element I guess you could say, we're going to see the problems go away and I think that's undeniable," Webster said.

The chief says there's an example of just that right here in Charleston. Before the new Four Points by Sheraton Hotel opened on the Kanawha Boulevard, police were responding to all kinds of calls there, but since the new development opened, the chief can't remember the last time they had a problem in that area. He's hoping that the same thing might just happen at the transit mall once improvements there are complete.

Bus Company Decision Nails The Coffin Shut On Saturday Event
Jul. 22, 2014 7:36 PM EDT
The Dirty Girl Mud Run, set for Saturday at Charleston's ...
Full News Story and Video

Freedom Bankruptcy Deal On Hold
Jul. 22, 2014 6:10 PM EDT
The company at the center of a chemical spill that ...
Full News Story and Video

Milton Seeing Economic Boom
Jul. 22, 2014 5:49 PM EDT
The city of Milton in eastern Cabell County is in the ...
Full News Story

News Dirty Girl Mud Run For Charleston Officially Canceled
Jul. 22, 2014 5:42 PM EDT
News Fayette County Man Killed After Pinned Under Truck
Jul. 22, 2014 4:54 PM EDT
News The Greenbrier Releases Details For Fans Interested In Attending New Orleans' Saints Practices, Picnic
Jul. 22, 2014 5:47 PM EDT
News Medicare Workshop Offers Information, Expert Consultation
Jul. 22, 2014 4:22 PM EDT
News MU To Paint The Capital City Green
Jul. 22, 2014 4:07 PM EDT
News Multifest Announces Schedule For 2014
Jul. 22, 2014 3:21 PM EDT
News Pregnant Teen Strangled, Man Decapitated In Online Sex Case
Jul. 22, 2014 3:06 PM EDT
News Milton Police Seek Information On Telephone Cable Theft
Jul. 22, 2014 2:28 PM EDT
News Meningitis Diagnosis Prompted WV Clinic Probe
Jul. 22, 2014 2:10 PM EDT
News Mountaineers To Face Tennessee In Football In 2018
Jul. 22, 2014 1:55 PM EDT
News Surveillance Photos Released In South Charleston Robbery
Jul. 22, 2014 12:53 PM EDT
News WVU Baseball Player Signs With Pro Team
Jul. 22, 2014 12:37 PM EDT
News One Man Injured In East End Shooting
Jul. 22, 2014 6:16 PM EDT
News Well-Being Of WV Children Improves; State Ranks 37th
Jul. 22, 2014 11:32 AM EDT
News Independent Ed Rabel To Seek Congressional Seat
Jul. 22, 2014 11:17 AM EDT
News Wayne County Schools Names Superintendent
Jul. 22, 2014 1:22 PM EDT
News Annual River Float Expected To Make Big Splash Saturday
Jul. 22, 2014 11:00 AM EDT
News Trailer Owner Finds Abandoned Meth Lab Near Backyard
Jul. 22, 2014 10:25 AM EDT
News WV Inmate Who Escaped In May Captured In VA
Jul. 22, 2014 9:16 AM EDT
News Former Mercer County Teacher Pleads Guilty To Sex Charges
Jul. 22, 2014 9:22 AM EDT
News Troopers Say Man Arrested In Child Neglect Case
Jul. 22, 2014 10:22 AM EDT
News Freedom Industries In Bankruptcy Court Tuesday
Jul. 22, 2014 7:54 AM EDT
News Baby Dies From Malnutrition After Police Say Parents Used WIC Money To Buy Drugs
Jul. 21, 2014 11:53 PM EDT
News Women Express Outrage Over Dirty Girl Mud Run Flap
Jul. 22, 2014 7:44 AM EDT
News Shoppers Travel Across Counties To Shop At Newly Expanded Kroger
Jul. 22, 2014 12:56 PM EDT
News Livestock Competition Big Part Of Cabell County Fair
Jul. 22, 2014 11:06 AM EDT
News Local Sporting Goods Store Thriving
Jul. 22, 2014 1:18 PM EDT
News WV Family Fights For 13-Month-Old Daughter To Be An Organ Donor After Tragic Death
Jul. 22, 2014 11:22 AM EDT
News Uncertainty Swirls Around Saturday's Scheduled Event
Jul. 22, 2014 7:46 AM EDT
News High-Profile Murder Case May Have Federal Implications
Jul. 21, 2014 5:21 PM EDT

Advertise on WCHS-TV Online

West Virginia News
W.Va. gas price tumble

West Virginia gas prices are down about a nickel a gallon.
Full Story

Kentucky News
Beshear: Health rulings won't affect Kentucky

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear says rulings Tuesday on President Barack Obama's health care law won't affect enrollees in Kentucky's state-run health exchange.
Full Story

Ohio News
Ohio band director pleads guilty to sex charges

A former central Ohio band director accused of inappropriate conduct with three students has pleaded guilty to 13 counts, including felony sexual battery and misdemeanor sexual imposition.
Full Story

Fugitive Files Tuesdays at 6 PM on Eyewitness News

West Virginia Wildlife Wednesdays at 6 PM on Eyewitness News

ABC News web site

Send Mail Send email to news@wchstv.com for information or comments concerning WCHS-TV Eyewitness News.
Copyright ©2014, WCHS-TV8. Portions are Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or distributed.

WCHS ABC 8 provides local news, weather forecasts, traffic updates, notices of events and items of interest in the community, sports and entertainment programming for Charleston and nearby towns and communities in the Tri-State area, including Huntington, Dunbar, Marmet, Montgomery, Nitro, South Charleston, St. Albans, Cedar Grove, Chesapeake, Clendenin, East Bank, Glasgow, Pratt, Cross Lanes, Elkview, Pinch, Sissonville, Big Chimney, Cabin Creek, Chelyan, Davis Creek, Institute, Jefferson, Loudendale, Mink Shoals, Pocatalico, Quick, Quincy, Rand, Buffalo, Eleanor, Hurricane, Nitro, Poca, Winfield, Culloden, Fraziers Bottom, Hometown, Red House, Scott Depot, Teays Valley, Danville, Madison, Hamlin, Logan, Chapmanville, Man, Delbarton, Kermit, Gilbert, Matewan, Williamson, Summersville, Richwood, Flatwoods, Gassaway, Sutton, Spencer, Ravenswood, Ripley, Mason, Point Pleasant, Ashland, Pikeville, Ironton, Portsmouth, Gallipolis, and Athens.