Rail-Trail Extension Plan Moves Forward

[Marion County] Commission awards MSES with contract to add 17 more miles

Morgantown Dominion Post
18 September 2011
By Chris Dale

Marion County Commissioners moved closer to almost doubling the mileage of the county’s rail-trail system Wednesday.

“We’ve been working on this project for five or six years,” Marion County Planning and Development Director Richard Walton said.

“CSX wants to donate property, but before they do, CSX and our county want to ensure it meets certain standards,” he said. “Today’s action permits us to go ahead and negotiate a contract and fee with MSES Consulting to conduct environmental testing.”

Commissioners awarded a contract for Environmental Engineering Services for the rail-trail. MSES was chosen by a committee comprised of three community members: Walton, Tony Michalski and Kris Cinalli. The committee reviewed 12 proposals before selecting MSES Consulting.

The committee will now negotiate a contract and fees with MSES for the work. The contract and fees will then go to the commission for approval.

“We expect the environmental review to begin in the next couple of weeks and be finalized sometime in mid-October,” Walton added. “Testing will begin when CSX executes the agreement and we negotiate a contract with MSES.”

Michalski, assistant director of Marion County Parks and Recreation, is excited by the prospects the trail provides Marion County residents.

“We already have 20 miles of trail within the county, and this will add approximately 17 more miles,” he said.

Perhaps more importantly, the trail will extend to the northern part of the county.

“This develops a corridor into the northern part of the county, from Barrackville to Dent’s Run,” Michalski said.

“We plan on making an across-town link to connect to the West Fork River Trail and the MCTrail. The MCTrail connects to the Mon River Trail, which runs through Morgantown and into Pennsylvania.”