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Elk City lighting project makes neighborhood shine

Community members enjoy a temporary light display Thursday night showing what is to come for Elk City. (WCHS/WVAH)

Charleston's Elk City neighborhood will soon be brighter as a new lighting project is underway. Charleston Main Streets West Side teamed up with West Virginia University's theater program to create a new lighting design featuring lights usually used for entertainment and theater production.

"A brighter city is a safer city," marketing director with Charleston Main Streets Adam Stollings said. "It makes it more inviting to other people in Charleston. It really just welcomes people to the West Side."

Officials with West Virginia University set up a temporary light display Thursday evening to show neighbors a glimpse of what is to come for the Elk City streets. Charleston Main Streets hopes to gain feedback from community members to guide the direction of a permanent light project.

"We're trying to enhance the architecture that is already along West Washington Street," WVU Theater Director Joshua Williamson said. "There are also really great murals that are along the street."

The lights used are usually for theater productions and concerts, but provided a display of color and shine to the streets that community members enjoyed.

"We're using theater equipment and entertainment lighting to set up a temporary demonstration of what is possible," Williamson said. "Depending on what people respond to and what they like, we can specify permanent equipment that would stay all year."

Elk City Records owner Phil Melick said small businesses continue to pop up in Elk City, and he hopes the revitalization will continue.

"I really like the look of the colored lights cast on the buildings," Melick said. "It brings out the history of this neighborhood, which is one of the things people find attractive when they come here."

The lighting crew is working with city officials to come up with a permanent lighting plan for Elk City.

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