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$1.8M in repairs needed for downtown parking garage

During a recent report to Morgantown City Council, Parking Authority Executive Director Dana McKenzie said the University Avenue parking garage needs $1.8 million in repairs.

McKenzie explained a recent assessment by engineering firm GAI Consultants revealed the need for slab work on multiple decks as well as repairs to support columns and one of the garage’s stairwells.

“There’s no safety issues as of yet, but if we continue to let it go, there will be,” McKenzie said.

The bid packet for the project is complete, but capital improvement projects in the city are on hold due to the budgetary impacts of COVID-19.
The garage was built in 1977.

More immediate, McKenzie said, will be the replacement of 510 single-space parking meters downtown.

He explained that the software currently being used is obsolete and needs to be replaced.

“The new meters you’re going to see will essentially look the same. We have a cash key currently that you can purchase in our office that works with each meter. That cash key will now be a smart card … You’ll be able to purchase a card in our office to put up to $100 on,” he explained, noting the new machines will still take coins.

He said the meters will be swapped out “in the next couple weeks,” at a cost of $110,000.

In other city news, council will soon consider a zoning map amendment request from West Virginia University Hospitals for two parcels at the intersection of Van Voorhis Road and Elmer Prince Drive.

If approved, the parcels would go from OI (office and industrial) to B-2 (service business).

According to Chris Fletcher, the city’s director of development services, the amendment would allow West Virginia University Hospitals to move forward with plans to redevelop the former Fieldcrest Hall site.

Lastly, the city is looking to complete an easement with property owners Joshua and Kendra Fershee in the continued pursuit of a “campus connector” trail below Riverview Drive.

Councilor Jenny Selin said this project has been a topic of discussion for more than two decades.

“It would be a very useful trail. It’s a useful trail now, but it’s not official. This helps the property owners because the city then is taking on the responsibility for maintaining the trail,” she said.

According to City Attorney Ryan Simonton there are additional easements needed before the project could move forward.

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