The city of Ronceverte is completing its latest downtown streetscape project with the construction of two new sidewalks along Frankford Road and Main Street, the replacement of a block of sidewalk along Edgar Avenue, the installation of new lampposts, planters and benches, upgraded landscaping and other improvements. This latest project represents over $535,000 in improvements.
The Downtown Streetscape project has been the work of the Main Street Ronceverte program through the Ronceverte Development Corporation as well as the assistance of the Ronceverte Women’s Club, the Ronceverte Historic Landmarks Commission, its businesses, and the Ronceverte Planning Commission and has taken over a decade to complete.
Two new sections of sidewalks have been constructed from Greenbrier Avenue to Main Street along Frankford Road and from Frankford Road to Cherry Street along Main Street. This allows the completion of the city’s planned improvements to the entrance into the community from north US 219 at Frankford Road (Ronceverte Hill).
Other grant funds have been used to provide new landscaping along this project as well as the restoration of the historic Captain Thomas Edgar marker. “We are continuing to improve this section of the entrance,” said Doug Hylton, grant coordinator and administrator for this project. “During a 2001 West Virginia University Design Team visit, a primary concern was the need to improve the entrances into the community. This brings us closer to completing this upgrade.”
A second project has seen the replacement of sidewalks along Edgar Avenue from Cedar Street to Chestnut Street in front of the Ronceverte Post Office. This included new curbing and brick banding to match the rest of Edgar Avenue and the final replacement of new Victorian style lampposts throughout the downtown. “We have now completed the sidewalk and lighting along the downtown commercial district,” said Hylton. “New landscaping has been completed with replacement of trees within the downtown. New planters and benches are to be delivered this week.”
This has been an effort of many funding sources. Besides using the West Virginia Division of Highways Transportation Alternatives grants, assistance has come from the Hollowell Foundation, the Greenbrier County Arts and Recreation program, the Marie Leist Foundation and the Hamilton Foundation, as well as the West Virginia Development Office and the USDA Rural Business Enterprise Program.
“The improvements made through the Streetscape Program has allowed for reinvestment in the community,” said Kathy King, president of the Ronceverte Development Corporation. “We have seen the renovations of over a dozen structures in our downtown over the past decade which has given us fourteen retail spaces and ten apartment spaces in the downtown. We have seen new businesses to the town to include Strands, the Edgartown Café and Bakery, The Queen of Hair, and new investment is continuing.”
“The partnerships formed with the redevelopment of downtown Ronceverte is amazing,” said Tammy Dotson-Rhodes, program manager for Main Street Ronceverte. “Between the city, the Ronceverte Development Corporation, Main Street Ronceverte and other groups, the town has seen over $3.5 million in redevelopment in their downtown since the city began work to complete the streetscape project. It clearly shows the commitment of these good people to see the improvement to their community. The energy and enthusiasm is something I find to be extraordinary.”
Other improvements have included the restoration of the 1915 C&O Depot, the expansion of Gateway Industries, and the renovation of Ronceverte City Hall.