Congressman Alan B. Mollohan
2302 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Re: Upper Mon Recreational Boating Lock Hours
Dear Congressman Mollohan:
My name is Kristian Jamieson and I am writing to you as the co-chairman of the Mon River Recreation Committee, which is organized under the Monongalia County Chamber of Commerce Vision 2020 program.
Historically, the Upper Mon lock system has facilitated commerce as a transportation route for the industries that nurtured the growth of this region. Today, however, this same lock system poses an obstacle to recreational boaters and fisherman, thereby frustrating the ability of Monongalia County to foster economic development through tourism. In addition, the lock system has recently come under scrutiny for its contribution to the accumulation of trash that is occurring along the Wharf District development in Morgantown.
As you are aware, there has recently been renewed interest in the Monongahela River as both a recreational resource and, aesthetically, as a tool for economic development in Monongalia County. While we appreciate the efforts of the Pittsburgh District Army Corps of Engineers, we are now at a critical juncture in the development of the Upper Monongahela as a tourism and recreational resource, and the lock system deserves our immediate attention.
Our group is seeking to restore the lock system to 24 hour operations and supports an initiative for either the remote operation of the Morgantown, Hildebrand and Opekiska locks, or for the funding sufficient to staff these locks with lock operators 24 hours per day. We recognize the challenge in achieving these measures and therefore propose an interim solution that would keep our three locks open between the hours of Gam and 10pm Friday through Sunday and holidays during the May 1 to October 31 boating season.
Currently the Pittsburgh District Army Corps of Engineers budgets a lock operator at $100,000.00 annually including salary and overhead. It is estimated that our interim proposal will cost approximately $60,000.00 annually in excess of current operations. The cost of our interim solution is minimal when compared to the overall budget for lock system operations.
We respectfully request your assistance in implementing our proposed interim solution for the operation of the Morgantown, Hildebrand and Opekiska lock systems.
Very Truly Yours,
THE MON RIVER RECREATION COMMITTEE
By: Kristian Jamieson, Co-Chairman