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 (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
Executive Director
Morgantown Monongalia MPO
82 Hart Field Road Suite 105
Morgantown, WV 26505

Comments are due by December 24, 2015

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