Haymaker Forest to see final walk-through before public hearing

MORGANTOWN — The Monongalia County Circuit Court will stage a hearing today (June 19) on an injunction aimed at stopping Morgantown’s purchase of the 40-acre Haymaker Forest for $5.2 million.

The court proceedings are scheduled for 2:30 p.m., mere hours before the Morgantown City Council plans to hold a final public hearing on the proposed sale.

The council meeting is at 7 p.m., at Morgantown City Hall. After comments from citizens, the councilors could vote on whether to proceed with the purchase, which faces a deadline for a down payment.

Richard Vaglienti and Judy and Michael Semler are plaintiffs on the suit, which was filed June 15 in Monongalia County Circuit Court.

Defendants are the City of Morgantown and six council members — Rachel Fetty, Mayor Bill Kawecki, Ryan Wallace, Jenny Selin, Barry Wendell and Deputy Mayor Mark Brazaitis.

The suit contends the city is misusing public funds   —    by potentially spending $130,000 per acre — and that Brazaitis stands to gain financially from the sale because his neighborhood sits adjacent to the forest.

Brazaitis compares the 40 acres to a municipal Coopers Rock, claiming the purchase “is a decision that will benefit us today, tomorrow and as long as we have our city.”

The only council member omitted from the suit is 5th Ward Councilor Ron Dulaney, who cast the only dissenting vote against the purchase during its first reading June 5.

Final walking tour

Brazaitis led residents and media members on walking tours of the Haymaker Forest last weekend, and he’s planning a final tour of the property today.

Anyone interested should meet Brazaitis at the Dorsey Avenue Circle K at noon.

Walkers should be in good physical shape and are advised to bring water and wear long pants and appropriate footwear.

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