Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Bridge talk gets extended

Public remarks will be accepted until next week.

The public comment period has been extended to Jan 5 for a potential project to increase access to Interstate 79 via a new bridge spanning the Monongahela River.   The Morgantown Monongalia Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) held a public workshop on the issue Dec 3.  The meeting not only offered a look at proposed designs, but gave attendees the opportunity to provide feedback.  That opportunity stretched beyond the meeting, and was scheduled to end Dec 24.  MPO Executive Director Bill Austin explained why the deadline was extended.
"We've had a great deal of public input to date ... which is great.  We're always happy to have public comments, but some of the comments expressed a concern that the comment period was not long enough, so we extended it to what we thought was a reasonable amount of time," Austin said, adding that about 200 comments were submitted as of Monday afternoon.
More information is available on the MPO's website at  Comments can be submitted to

If you haven't already written, you've now been given a second chance.  Please write to help protect the WVU Core Arboretum.  

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

WVU Core Arboretum Under Threat

The following was taken from a note sent out by Zach Fowler, Director of the Arboretum:

The WVU Core Arboretum is potentially threatened by plans to build a bridge over the Monongahela River.  The Morgantown Monongalia Metropolitan Planning Organization (MMMPO) is asking for feedback, we need to give them feedback.  This is happening very fast, and acting urgently is necessary.  The deadline for comments is December 24.

The MMMPO held a meeting for the I-79 Access Study on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015.  This was the first of three public meetings that will be held for the project.  There was no formal presentation at the meeting, but there was a handout containing the relevant information.  Officials from MMMPO were also on hand to answer questions.  There is now a website for the project (

 This is a critical time to respond to the MMMPO with concerns about the impact of the project on the Arboretum.  They are entering into the "alternatives development process."  Once they have received the public comments, they will begin evaluating "preliminary alternatives" and developing a list of alternatives to present at the next public meeting.  Keep in mind that one of these preliminary alternatives is likely a bridge over the Arboretum.  The official presentation of a bridge over the Arboretum as an option could come in March.  They have officially, albeit quietly, solicited input from citizens and stakeholders.  They have officially, albeit quietly, asked us to come forward with our concerns.

It is important that all who are concerned about the future of the WVU Core Arboretum write a letter to Bill Austin, Executive Director of MMMPO (address below), before December 24 and express the opinion that "Direct Roadway Connection from New I-79 Interchange to Monongahela Boulevard" (Project 6, Option B in the LRTP) is not an option that should even be considered as a preliminary alternative, much less a preferred alternative, due to its necessary and unavoidable impact on the WVU Core Arboretum.  Even a bridge OVER the Arboretum will cause irreversible and unacceptable damage to the Arboretum.  It is also important to stress the importance of the Arboretum to the community and the University, and to emphasize the value that it holds.

Mr. Bill Austin, AICP
Executive Director
Morgantown Monongalia MPO
82 Hart Field Road Suite 105
Morgantown, WV 26505

Comments are due by December 24, 2015

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Sierra Club Urban Walk - Dec 12

***Saturday, December 12
Start time: 11:00
Hiking time: Allow 3 hours
Intensity: Moderate - be in good shape, but previous hiking experience not required
Join Sierra Club hike leader Ann Devine King and longtime Morgantown resident Bill Case for a walk through the rapidly changing urban landscape in and around West Virginia University. This hike will cover 5 to 6 miles of hilly city streets and sidewalks, including all three campuses of WVU. See a dozen or more new or recent building projects, including hospital, apartment, classroom, and other buildings that are transforming entire neighborhoods. Includes Sunnyside, Downtown, and Evansdale. , includes a steep path that may become muddy/slippery. Wear shoes/boots with good traction and dress for weather. Contact leader, Ann Devine-King for more info/ meeting place at 304-594-2636 or

Monday, December 7, 2015

Tracking & Woods Lore Workshop

January 15-17, 2016
Tracking & Woods Lore Workshop, Twin Falls State Park

Step back in time to the 18th century, when American Indians and European Americans lived closer to nature. Learn some of the skills that were necessary for everyday life, and learn of the cultural sharing that has made our modern lives richer. Enjoy nature, dram, tracking, and history in outdoor and indoor setting. Starts at 7:00 p.m. on Friday. Bring warm clothes, sturdy footwear, camera, binoculars, and notepad to get the most out of this weekend. The workshop is definitely family friendly, with interest for ages from 5 years to over 55. We encourage scout groups (girls & boys) to use the workshop to help them earn certain merit badges and awards in themes of history, nature study, American Indian, Pioneer, woods lore, etc. Two classes are offered for WV Master Naturalist students as well; Tracking (4 hr. credit) and Medicinal/Edible/Useful Native Plants (3 hr. credit).
Overnight accommodations are available in either Twin Falls Lodge or a Twin Falls vacation cabin. Package prices include lodging, Saturday dinner, break refreshments, and all event activities.

Package pricing when staying at the lodge:
One person with two nights' lodging in a queen bed room – $141.00; two people with two nights' lodging in a two queen – $213.00. Cabin rates and other options are available depending upon room or cabin type.
Contact: 304-294-4000