‘Nonexistent’ efforts to partner with major trust for eight years seemingly implausible

How long has this been going on? Eight years.
That’s how long Morgantown went without making a single funding request from the Hazel Ruby McQuain Charitable Trust.
And the most recent request only came about after a former mayor reconnected the city’s administration with the trust.
That renewed relationship resulted in the trust providing $4.1 million to update the city’s riverfront park.
We’re not going to dwell on the absurd assertions by the city’s deputy mayor about BOPARC’s woes.
Many city residents and this newspaper judged those pronouncements to be off the wall some time back.
But what’s altogether illogical is that our city’s leadership failed to partner with the county’s largest charitable trust since 2010.
This revelation also takes far more city leaders to task than the ridiculous allegations of a lone councilman.
The president of that trust said it provided more than $10 million for various city projects prior to 2010.
Then, once a long-time city manager retired in 2010, the city’s relationship with the trust became “nonexistent.”
Why would no council member, no city manager or no member of the city’s administration suggest or reach out to this trust during that interim?
Some might ask why did others not suggest that, either. Perhaps, because everyone assumed that the city’s leaders were pursuing such funding.
Especially, funding from a long-serving, devoted partner in Morgantown’s success story, since 1989.
Obviously, there’s been a total disregard for tact, negotiation and communication in the recent war of words over BOPARC.
But as the trust’s president pointed out, the “tragedy” here is not that that $45 million track and aquatic center is being built outside city limits. The tragedy is the years of apathy by city leaders.
Apathy that led to that recreation center not being located in Morgantown and who knows how many other projects gone amiss in the past eight years. It’s as if our city’s leadership fiddled while Morgantown’s opportunities fizzled.
Clearly, our city’s leadership has some fences to mend — take your pick with whom or what — and some may wonder where to start.
Judging from the inane neglect of the city’s greatest nonprofit resource we recommend starting with the Hazel Ruby McQuain Charitable Trust.
No, this trust never signs on to every single proposal or writes checks on a whim for them, nor should it.
What it could do though is once more — at the city’s urging — become a key invested partner in improving Morgantown’s quality of life.
That also needs to be a priority of our city’s leaders — year in and year out — in the future.

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