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 (i79accessstudywv.com).
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
Morgantown Monongalia MPO
82 Hart Field Road Suite 105
Morgantown, WV 26505
Comments are due by December 24, 2015