Government, Latest News, Monongalia County

Commission authorizes bonds for expanded TIF district

The Monongalia County Commission approved a bond authorization and order on Wednesday that will place approximately $70 million in bonds tied to the ongoing WestRidge development in the expanded University Town Centre TIF district.

Ryan Lynch, representing developer WestRidge, said roughly $60 million of that amount will be used to refinance and refund bonds issued in 2017.

Lynch said the bonds will also be used to finance a new access to Mylan Park from Exit 155 (WVU/Star City) on I-79.

The Division of Highways is expected to reconfigure Exit 155 starting sometime in 2021. In August, the DOH estimated the project at $66 million and said the original plan would be to turn the existing infrastructure into a divergent diamond interchange with a flyover heading west.

“We’ll pick up just west of where the 155 project ends and take those improvements to the entrance of Mylan Park,” Lynch said, later adding, “Whether it’s three, four lanes is still kinda to be determined.”

It was explained these new bonds will be reimbursed using the increment generated from incoming development, like Bass Pro Shops and Menards, both of which are expected to be under construction this year.

In other county news, the commission approved $37,500 in emergency funding for the Greater Morgantown Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, to be paid in three $12,500 increments.

Following Wednesday’s meeting it was explained the funds were needed after the CVB stepped in to assist with debts incurred by MountainFest, the annual motorcycle rally and concert.

In December, it was announced MountainFest would not take place this year. The event has been a summer staple for the past 15 years.

At the time, Susan Riddle, president and CEO of the Greater Morgantown Convention and Visitors Bureau, said one of the main reasons MountainFest was canceled is the cost of musical entertainment. The most recent event featured Peter Frampton, Cheap Trick and the Charlie Daniels Band.

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