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.

1,100 Layoffs Planned At Alpha Coal Mines In WV
Jul. 31, 2014 7:15 PM EDT
Alpha Natural Resources expects to lay off 1,100 workers ...
Full News Story and Video

911 Call Released After Police Respond To Disturbance Involving Kanawha Prosecutor
Jul. 31, 2014 7:16 PM EDT
A 911 call is released after police were called to ...
Full News Story and Video

Learning Program Hosts Lemonade Stand
Jul. 31, 2014 6:27 PM EDT
The St. John's House afterschool and summer learning ...
Full News Story

News Man Sentenced For Shooting, Wounding Officer
Jul. 31, 2014 6:20 PM EDT
News Couple Honored For Preservation Efforts
Jul. 31, 2014 7:18 PM EDT
News Mercer Shooting Investigation under Way
Jul. 31, 2014 7:18 PM EDT
News Corporate Teams To Compete In Kitchen Cook-Off
Jul. 31, 2014 7:19 PM EDT
News CLOG Travels Back In Time to the 1980s
Jul. 31, 2014 6:18 PM EDT
News Probe Says Chemical Plants At Risk For Terrorism
Jul. 31, 2014 5:11 PM EDT
News Charleston's Multifest Opens Friday; Celebration Marking Its 25th Year
Jul. 31, 2014 4:16 PM EDT
News Woman Faces Charges After Police Say She Hit Husband With Car
Jul. 31, 2014 4:36 PM EDT
News Heritage Farm To Take Visitors Way Back This Weekend
Jul. 31, 2014 3:46 PM EDT
News More Than 900 Without Power After Lines Downed By Fallen Tree
Jul. 31, 2014 3:31 PM EDT
News West Virginia Singers To Perform At Live On The Levee
Jul. 31, 2014 2:20 PM EDT
News Arrest Made In "Droopy Drawers" Theft Of Mission Store
Jul. 31, 2014 2:06 PM EDT
News St. Albans Fire Victims' Names Released
Jul. 31, 2014 2:09 PM EDT
News Pinch VFD Receives Potential Lifesaving Donation
Jul. 31, 2014 3:08 PM EDT
News Thieves Target Several Homes, Vehicles In Marmet
Jul. 31, 2014 12:45 PM EDT
News Two Men Plead Not Guilty In Charleston Murder Case
Jul. 31, 2014 12:37 PM EDT
News Barboursville To Host 2015 Regional Soccer Tourney
Jul. 31, 2014 11:40 AM EDT
News Old Corbin Building To Be Creative Hub
Jul. 31, 2014 12:38 PM EDT
News Man Accused Of Breaking Into Home To Have Sex With Teen
Jul. 31, 2014 11:16 AM EDT
News Fans Can Rub Shoulders With Mountaineer Players At Annual WVU Fan Day
Jul. 31, 2014 11:39 AM EDT
News Jim Justice's Mines Have Pending Violations In Ky., Four Other States
Jul. 31, 2014 10:32 AM EDT
News Move Over Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts To Take Over Summit
Jul. 31, 2014 10:38 AM EDT
News West Virginia State University To Host Summer Research Symposium For Students
Jul. 31, 2014 9:33 AM EDT
News Police Need Help In Finding Missing Man
Jul. 31, 2014 10:08 AM EDT
News Man Pleads Guilty In Identity Theft Case
Jul. 31, 2014 9:15 AM EDT
News Coal Supporters To March at EPA Hearing
Jul. 31, 2014 8:56 AM EDT
News Kroger Restricts Pseudoephedrine Sales In WV
Jul. 31, 2014 8:30 AM EDT
News Hyundai To Recall Thousands Of Sedans
Jul. 31, 2014 8:49 AM EDT
News State Fire Marshals Say Smoldering Cigarette Ignited Couch, Causing Fatal St. Albans Fire
Jul. 30, 2014 10:16 PM EDT
News Police Say Home Where Neglect Arrests Made Was In Deplorable Condition; Child Found Around Knives
Jul. 31, 2014 9:07 AM EDT

Advertise on WCHS-TV Online

West Virginia News
Ex-Alderson prison worker sentenced on sex charge

A former worker at the Federal Prison Camp in Alderson has been sentenced to 10 months in prison after pleading guilty to charges that he touched a female inmate's breasts.
Full Story

Kentucky News
Sinistra wins Evan Shipman at Saratoga

Sinistra edged Big Business by a nose Thursday in the $100,000 Evan Shipman for New York-breds at Saratoga Race Course.
Full Story

Ohio News
Ohio theme park tries to top shaved-heads record

A southwestern Ohio amusement park will try to top a Guinness record for the most heads shaved simultaneously to help raise awareness and money to fight cancer.
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.