Economic Issue

Fairmont resolution acknowledges impact of locks’ closure

Fairmont Times West Virginian
15 August 2012
By Katie Wilson

FAIRMONT — Fairmont City Council is the latest government agency to sign a resolution in favor of the Monongahela River locks.

Council passed the resolution on a unanimous 8-0 vote at its regular meeting Tuesday. Councilman Bob Sapp was not present.

City Manager Jay Rogers said the resolution was similar to the one Morgantown’s council passed recently.

The four government agencies — the City of Fairmont, the City of Morgantown, the Monongalia County Commission and the Marion County Commission — are working on the logistics of a joint meeting to discuss the resolutions and how they can help keep the locks open, Rogers said.

The resolution states the economy of the City of Fairmont and the entire region would be impacted by the closure.

Mayor Bill Burdick said he was pleased the resolution focused on the economic issues, even though recreational usage is important.

“I think shutting them down eliminates the possibility of commercial development,” Burdick said.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) this year announced plans to close or sharply curtail hours at three locks on the Monongahela River. Under the plan, the Hildebrand and Opekiska locks would be closed by October, and the hours cut at Morgantown. The locks would be opened if a commercial entity applied for an appointment with the USACE.

Basically, that would cut off river traffic between Morgantown and Fairmont. No barges or recreational crafts would be able to make it through.