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Westover Council to consider Region VI to lead Holland Avenue project

MORGANTOWN — Between its allotment of American Rescue Plan funding and the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill signed by President Joe Biden on Monday, the city of Westover is looking to turn federal bucks into big changes for Holland Avenue.

And it’s looking for a little help to make that happen.

Region VI Planning and Development Council Executive Director Sheena Hunt said her organization could provide that assistance.

Hunt addressed council during its regular Monday meeting.

“We’re here to help you through it and make is as easy of a process as possible for council, so that you have a good team of professionals once an engineer gets on board,” she said, later adding, “We actually have several projects that we’re working on. We’d be happy to add Westover to the list.”

One of those projects is the Morgantown Utility Board’s water and sewer upgrades in the Morgantown Industrial Park, for which Region VI helped secure $2 million in federal grant funding.

The quasi-government agency will provide preliminary work, like advertising for an engineering firm, at no cost. If the project moves forward, Region VI will present a proposal based on project fees and its administrative efforts.

Mayor Dave Johnson said the city intends to allocate all of its $1.74 million from the American Rescue Plan to address the stormwater and sewer lines beneath the road.

“The sewer and storm lines are pretty much nonexistent, its been so long since anybody’s done anything to it,” he said. “They wanted to pave that road a couple years ago and decided not to because it wouldn’t do any good. You’d have to come back sooner or later and tear all that back out.”

Once the underlying water and sewer issues are addressed, it’s the city’s hope that the road and adjoining infrastructure — like retaining walls, lighting and sidewalks — can be covered through grants or other funding backed by the infrastructure bill.

Johnson said the preliminary cost estimate for the road and water/sewer utilities is about $2.5 million.

“It’s long overdue,” he said. “But, you know, we’ve been busy. We’ve been trying to get all this stuff done, all the annexations and everything, to try to get to a point where we can fund a lot of these projects ourselves. We’re getting there. The city is going to be real close; once all the trees are ripe we can pick the fruit off of.”

Council will decide if it will bring Region VI on board as project administrator during its Dec. 6 meeting.

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