MORGANTOWN — “I am so grateful this is finally accomplished,” said Morgantown Mayor Bill Kawecki.
He and 10 others then took their golden scissors and cut the blue ribbon to the new bridge connecting the Deckers Creek Trail to Greenmont and South Park, near Kingwood Street.
“It was done with a great deal of consideration, and it’s going to be good for the community,” Kawecki said. “To see it finally happen and see it happen in such a positive manner — this is the bridge that we talked about, this is not a compromise. This is something that is exactly what we hoped it would be.”
The Division of Highways (DOH) and the City of Morgantown shared in the funding for the bridge, according to Richard Colebank, president and chief operating officer of Alpha Architect. Colebank said Alpha Architect has been under contract with the DOH for three years to make the bridge a reality.
Colebank said being a Mon County native made it more meaningful to him to be part of connecting different areas of the city through his company.
“Any time that my company has an opportunity to work to either connect the communities or further things here in town is very gratifying,” Colebank said. “These are [projects] that everybody likes, and hopefully it’ll serve the community well for decades.”
Ella Belling, executive director for the Mon River Trails Conservancy, said the bridge is a great way to connect more of the city and allow the neighborhood to have more access to businesses such as Phoenix Bakery.
“It’s going to serve as a neighborhood revitalization … we hope to see this spark some new energy in the neighborhood, as well as getting more people onto the rail-trail,” Belling said.
She said that it’s been two decades since the construction of the Deckers Creek Trail.
“It took a lot of leaders and a lot persistence and a lot of funding to make it happen, so we need to take the moment to celebrate it,” Belling said.
State Delegate Barbara Evans Fleischauer, D-Mon, said Morgantown City Council was “pivotal” in making the bridge possible and that the bridge is “much larger than the city in terms of benefits.”
“It’s one piece in the history. I don’t think we think about how this history is unique,” she said. “This trail totally changed the community.”