In the News

Notes from the October 15, 2020 Task Force Meeting

  • Fishing Access Maintenance: Frank coordinated a volunteer effort to cut back brush along several fishing access paths on the riverfront that are not officially maintained by the City or BOPARC. He plans to follow up with MUB to find out more about the requirements surrounding the NPDES signs posted along the river.
  • South University/Mountaineer Heritage Park Plan: 
    • Bailey Gillespie, a landscape architecture intern with the Northern Brownfields Assistance Center, presented a bubble diagram to the group that illustrates several ideas for Mountain Heritage Park that emerged from an on-site meeting in September with Greg Corio, Danny Twilley, Patrick Kirby, Jenny Selin, Russ Rogerson, Drew Gatlin and Vaike Haas. The concept has been presented to BOPARC and is under review. Several task force members will be meeting with BOPARC to discuss the plan and get their feedback at the end of October. 
    • Ella Belling also pitched the installation of Debbie Palmer’s Shine mural in the Park to BOPARC this month. BOPARC asked her to hold off on seeking funding while they consider the larger proposed plan. Task Force members discussed the idea of seeking funding for the proposed plan for separate items if and when the larger plan is approved.
    • The group discussed the need to consider either ownership of the Park or a longer-term lease with DOH if and when significant improvements are planned and funding is sought. Emily reached out to BOPARC and Ryan Simonton to determine the status of the lease.
    • Because larger improvements are being considered for this Park, Task Force members discussed holding off on connecting the existing paved path in the Park to the Rail Trail so that those connections can be considered in the context of future plans.
    • Andrew Gast-Bray is working with a WVU engineering professor to design an affordable bike/pedestrian bridge that could be used in a variety of locations. Drew Gatlin asked if he could speak with this professor to help nail down an approximate cost for the bridge being considered across Don Knotts to connect First Ward/White Park to Mountaineer Heritage Park.
  • Invasive Plant/Tree Management Plan: Dave Barnett presented the draft plan prepared last month to the Tree Board, which approved it and offered suggestions. Jessica will be meeting with representatives from the WV Department of Agriculture and the USDA next week to discuss the plan and learn about how it might be worked into a proposal to fund the treatment of invasive species along the river in connection with the spotted lanternfly threat. 
  • Event Holding Info on City Website: 
    • Several folks at the City continue to work to refine the process for holding events within City limits. Ryan Simonton is working on revising the special event permit process, which had been somewhat cumbersome. This will likely be presented to Council sometime this winter. 
    • Non right-of-way (streets) rentals like at HRM Park will likely be kept separate from this process. Vincent has created a process for events at HRM Park and is using the event scheduled for the end of October as a test run to see how it works and refine as needed. The event sold out quickly.
  • Signage Needs: Emily is actively working with necessary parties on the signs proposed along Don Knotts/Beechurst. She has reached out to BOPARC regarding “Fishing Permitted” signage at the Table 9 doc, and discussions are ongoing. The City is working on a sign for the kayak lockers at Walnut Street landing.
  • Other organizational updates, if any: Patrick met with MUB recently and discussed plans for the former Dinsmore Tire site they own. MUB is seeking an EPA Brownfields Cleanup Grant for the site but does not have immediate plans to use it for water treatment. MUB may be open to allowing some other type of use at the site once it’s been remediated. Patrick will continue to explore this idea.

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