FINANCIAL FOCUS: Kanawha Boulevard Riverfront Beautification Fund

By Robert L. Nistendirk | Dec 16, 2009

CHARLESTON -- Christmas is the time when we are in the spirit of happiness, sharing, and celebrating. It reminds us of the roles we are meant to play in our lives, in our communities and the world we inhabit.

In the spirit of the holiday season, I would like to bring to your attention a project that was revitalized two years ago while I was walking along Kanawha Boulevard and appreciating the beauty of the Kanawha River. It came to mind then and there that we owe it to this wonderful city of Charleston to make this river walk a breathtaking experience.


The Municipal Beautification Commission was created on September 27, 1960. It was formerly known as the Riverfront Beautification Committee. In 1960, Mayor Shanklin had a vision that the river would provide opportunities for citizens to donate trees as living memorials to their deceased loved ones.

In 2004, Mayor Danny Jones and the Charleston City Council created the Charleston Riverfront Development Committee. Sasaki Associates, Inc. was selected by the City to establish a master plan for the development of the riverfront. Upon completion, the master plan included initiatives such as the planting of shade trees and ground cover to create a richer, more seasonal environment for all the citizens of Charleston and its visitors.

The Fund

The Kanawha Boulevard Riverfront Beautification Fund was organized this year to supplement the beautification efforts of the city of Charleston. The Fund is designed as a 501(C)(3) charitable organization, to be managed by The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation.

The Fund's proposed mission is to maintain and improve plantings on the north bank of the Kanawha River from Patrick Street Bridge to the 35th Street Bridge.

The Fund's goal is to raise at least $2 million dollars, so that eventually the monies from the Fund will pay for maintenance and beautification of the riverbank areas. Eventually, the Fund should be able to supplement the cost of a full time maintenance person.


"Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve." - Napolean Hill.

Take a moment of your busy life and imagine the Boulevard with lush green grass and beautiful beds of flowers symbolizing our city. Not a weed in sight. Now, imagine benches for people to sit and enjoy the sunshine and river.

The Boulevard will attract visitors and shows. It will also re-energize the businesses downtown, as more people will start visiting the Boulevard.

As a nation, we are becoming more and more aware of our planet and natural resources and eco-friendly choices. This year when making your charitable giving choices, please remember the Kanawha Boulevard Riverfront Beautification Fund, which will lead each of us, and our future generations, to the river walk for cultural and other activities, green grass, trees, flowers, benches and sense of civic pride toward our beautiful city of Charleston.

If you are interested, please make your check payable to "Kanawha Boulevard Riverfront Beautification Fund" and mail it to The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation, 1600 Huntington Square, 900 Lee Street, East, Charleston, West Virginia 25301.

Nistendirk is a partner at Woomer, Nistendirk & Associates PLLC, a CPA firm located in Charleston. Bob has extensive experience in tax accounting, strategic planning and financial/business consulting. He can be contacted at

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