2020 is almost half over and most of us are already TOTALLY over it! July will be the fifth month we have been practicing social distancing, wearing masks, washing our hands more than ever, and learning a brand new “normal”. But, even the COVID-19 cloud has a silver lining! As schools and businesses gradually re-open, nearly everyone has a new appreciation for simple things. And for each other. That is always a good thing.
This time last year, Charleston’s big news was the $100 million renovation of the old Charleston Civic Center. It is now the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center. This year, the Charleston branch of the Kanawha Public Library begins its $24 million renovation project. The main branch at 123 Capitol St. has closed and most of the books are now at the temporary library at the Charleston Town Center Mall. The renovation and addition of 20,000 square feet is expected to be completed in February 2022. This will include a large meeting area and a café. But in the meantime, the CTC Mall is a convenient place to hang out, find the latest new releases, and grab a Starbucks. Especially during these hot summer months.
In June, the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences began a soft reopening as it began offering the popular “day camp” programs. Details for these can be found on their website. Most concerts and shows have been postponed indefinitely. The Clay Center has begun additional sanitary practices which include an ultra-violet system with the H-VAC units. They are also getting creative about how the space is used. New ideas are being implemented with the Susan Runyan Maier Sculpture Garden. Stay tuned as the staff announces more events.
The sports world is also having a slow and gradual roll-out of events. “Low Contact” events, like soccer and Little League, have gotten the OK to restart. The individual teams and organizations are deciding when and how to safely begin. Big news at the Shawnee Sports Complex is the opening of the club house sports bar and grill, “The Pitch”. The completely redone interior, from floor to ceiling, is stunning. There is even an upstairs loft with its own bar. Debuting 24 taps of mainly local beers and a very creative food menu, “The Pitch” is sure to be a fun place to meet up with friends.
Many locals were sad to hear the restaurant at South Hills Market had closed permanently. Fortunately, “1010 Bridge Restaurant and Catering” will be opening in July, occupying the same space. The owners plan to feature “Appalachian dishes with a low-country influence”. After enduring months of a global pandemic, the opening of TWO new restaurants in town is very exciting.
There are still many local events to be experienced virtually, but “Let’s Roam’s Charleston Scavenger Hunt: An Outdoor Activity in Charleston” is a super fun way to get out of the house with the family and explore the town. This $11 app for smartphones is an activity can almost anyone can enjoy. Lace up your walking shoes, snap photos, race against the clock, and experience Charleston in a brand new way!
No doubt about it, CharleyWest is a great place for a “staycation”!
Enjoy summer and STAY SAFE!