Bloom: White Park discussion has impacts beyond city’s boundaries

MORGANTOWN — Monongalia County Commission President Tom Bloom said the current uproar over the Morgantown Utility Board’s halted plan to place a raw-water pipeline through Morgantown’s White Park could have impacts well beyond the city’s boundaries.
“I just want it real clear that MUB does represent both the city and county as a utility,” Bloom said, explaining that he was not speaking on behalf of the commission or the other commissioners.
“I am adamantly opposed to an increase of the possibility of $5 million more in taxes just to save a couple trees,” he said. “I believe we could use that money to buy many trees and replant, so I’m very concerned that when MUB makes that decision, they make it in the best interest of all the residents in the city and county.”
MUB has received a sizable public backlash in the last week or so after it became evident that the utility planned to clear hundreds of trees in White Park in order to run a gravity-fed pipeline from a new secondary water source, which is currently under construction, to MUB’s treatment facility.
Due to the area’s topography, MUB officials have indicated that avoiding the park would require additional infrastructure likely to cost in the range of $5 million, triggering customer rate increases.
According to MUB, its customers are split almost evenly between city and county residents.
In other county news, the county will reschedule a public hearing on Granville’s request to annex West Virginia Department of Transportation rights-of-way by minor boundary adjustment.
Originally scheduled for Wednesday, the hearing had to be postponed.
“There was a question about the metes and bounds and whether that matched the map that we were provided, so we went back to Granville to look into it and correct it if need be,” Commissioner Sean Sikora said. “Once they provide that back to us, we’ll set another date for public hearing.”
The town is looking to annex County Route 19 from the Star City Bridge to 507 Scotts Run Road (Granville Fire Department Station 2), Lady Bug Lane, Scotts Run Road from the municipal line to Lady Bug Lane and Chaplin Road from Westover’s municipal boundary to the intersection of CR 19.
Lastly, Commissioner Ed Hawkins said the county is in the running to host a large regional agriculture show at the Monongalia County Extension Service and 4-H Center, currently under construction at Mylan Park.
Hawkins said the show is still two years out and will either be held at Mylan Park or the state fairgrounds. He said members of the selection committee recently toured the site of the $4 million facility.
The county’s application is due in September.

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