In the News

Morgantown Riverfront Revitalization Task Force for November 2020

Invasive Plant/Tree Management Plan

  • Last week city grant writer Robyn Hess submitted a funding request through the Forest Health Protection Cooperative program using a proposal that Jessica and Kristen Wickert (forest pathologist with the WV Dept. of Agriculture) prepared with input from folks at the US Forest Service. The proposal requested approximately $34K to treat and remove invasive plant species along the rail trail beginning in front of Oliverio’s and ending across from the Marriott Conference Center, over a three-year period. This figure was derived from an estimate prepared by Allstar Ecology.
  • Members of the Tree Board and the Urban Landscape Department coordinated efforts, and last week several members marked trees that should be kept in that section.
  • We should know if we receive the funding sometime next spring. Treatment will begin next spring and summer if funding allows.

South University/Mountaineer Heritage Park Plan

  • Jessica, Patrick, and Vaike Haas met with the director and assistant director of BOPARC at the Park last week to discuss the proposed improvements. Based upon the positive feedback received, Patrick’s intern, Bailey Gillespie, is preparing renderings that show the proposed elements in the actual space, which will help determine what might go there and will make presenting those concepts to others much easier. 
  • BOPARC intends to present those drawings to its Board at their December meeting.
  • Jenny suggested that the next iteration of the Park plan show where the quiet/passive areas are (and will remain) in the Park for the BOPARC Board. The Board wants to keep some benches in the garden. Bill said the Board was taken aback by the presentation of this concept at the same time as others proposed increased use by mountain bikes; the Board is concerned that these uses will take over others. Jenny also suggested trying to educate BOPARC with images of what the recreation components look like.
  • After the meeting at the Park, BOPARC coordinated with Allison Helm to remove two tired sculptures that still remain there. They discussed keeping the Eddie Spaghetti piece in the Park. Task force members pointed out that the City does not own Eddie’s piece.
  • BOPARC is also coordinating efforts to remove the Born Learning Trail in the Park that was installed by United Way; to revive or relocate existing plaques and memorials; and to assess and address issues with existing infrastructure and vegetation in the Park.

MUB property potential (old Dinsmore tire facility)

  • Patrick has talked to folks at MUB about the possibility of using the old Dinsmore tire property for recreational purposes once it is remediated. (MUB applied for an EPA Cleanup Grant for the property this year.) MUB won’t need the property for approximately 20 years, so it may present an opportunity for additional recreational infrastructure that can be removed at a later date.

Update on new City Management and other ongoing efforts

  • The last item has now been finished at Hazel Ruby McQuain Park.
  • Emily and Vincent are actively working on signage issues throughout the riverfront. 
  • Emily hopes the City will be able to allocate funds to some of the efforts proposed by the Task Force in the coming year.
  • New City Manager Kim Haws is set to begin December 1 and will likely attend next month’s meeting. 

Fishing Access and Signage

  • Frank asked about the lease the City had for the fishing access area behind the power plant on Beechurst. Emily said negotiations with the owner stalled but she will follow up again. Frank said he can likely get the fishing society to do some maintenance at the fishing access if needed. 
  • Frank also said there is a no wake zone behind the dam, which is not currently signed. Emily confirmed that this is on her list of signage needs. 
  • Frank spoke with MUB attorney about red sewage discharge warning signs along the trail. The MUB attorney said they put them up under order of DEP. Frank didn’t get the idea from DEP that the wording was set in stone. He will follow up with DEP to see if there’s room to negotiate. Emily suggested seeing if they can become educational signs. Jenny suggested doing that with all signs throughout the Park.

Bike Rack Assessment

  • Drew and the Bike Board finished their initial assessment of the bike racks available along the riverfront. Their work is available here, and feedback is welcome: 

Trail Lighting Grant Match Needed

  • Ella mentioned the need for a $30K match for lighting along the trail in order to activate the $120K grant MRTC received from DOH. Drew suggested the idea of moving money between projects to be able to move more quickly.

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