BOPARC, WVU, Mon Deal Drafted

Morgantown Dominion Post
6 October 2016
By Ben Conley

The Monongalia County Commission is working with Morgantown’s Board of Park and Recreation Commissioners (BOPARC) and WVU on an agreement aimed at increasing activity along the riverfront, and specifically at Hazel Ruby McQuain Park and Amphitheater.

BOPARC Director Melissa Burch, and Ron Justice, a BOPARC member and WVU state, corporate and community relations specialist, discussed the agreement at Wednesday’s regular meeting.

Justice presented the commission with a draft of the agreement. He explained that it will come back to the commission for approval once it gets the all-clear from BOPARC and WVU.

BOPARC has a special meeting scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Monday to discuss the collaboration.

“What the agreement basically states is we’ll ... put together representatives from the county commission, BOPARC and the university to explore ways to seek opportunities for the riverfront park, as well as how we can work together to identify programming opportunities and other activities,” Justice said.

Commission President Eldon Callen said the agreement is the result of a recent work session.

“We asked BOPARC to come here, and we said, ‘We’re willing to assist with projects and programs. Where are your needs? Where are you falling short?’ And one of the things they talked about was the utilization of Hazel Ruby McQuain Park,” Callen said, explaining that the agreement allows the commission to assist with funding and have input as to how county funds are used.

Callen went on to say that the partnership is a continuation of the commission’s efforts — working with entities like the Upper Monongahela River Association and the Army Corps of Engineers — to better use the river as a recreational focal point and economic engine.

In other recreation-related news, the commission approved an $8,500 contract with Snider Excavating, of Morgantown, to move a historic cabin from Grafton Road to Mason-Dixon Historical Park.

The cabin was donated to the county by Patricia Fisher and her late husband, Robert.

The log cabin will be placed near the two cabins now at the park. All three will be renovated to accommodate rentals by the end of next summer.

Additionally, the park office will be moved inside the park’s red barn.

This course of action was recommended Wednesday by Mason-Dixon Superintendent J.R. Petsko, speaking on behalf of the park’s advisory board.

The park office and cabin renovations will be handled by the county construction crew. Including the transport of the cabin, Facilities Director Bobby Doyle said he estimated all the projects could be completed for $20,000.

The commission voted to send a letter of thanks to Fisher for the donation.

Also on Wednesday, the commission approved the issuance of no more than $6 million in bonds for work in the tax increment finance (TIF) district near Mon General Hospital (Development District No. 3).

The bonds will pay off the initial project in the district — the construction of Mon General Drive — and provide $2.5 million for the second project — widening and other improvements to Maple Drive.

Tom Aman, bond counsel for the commission, said he believes the Maple Drive work is slated for completion in January or February.