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Morgantown, MUB ‘close’ on reservoir recreation

MORGANTOWN — It appears as if an agreement between the city of Morgantown and the Morgantown Utility Board outlining recreation at MUB’s Flegal Dam and Reservoir site is imminent.

So imminent, in fact, that MUB called a special meeting of its board of directors Thursday evening to approve it.

Close, but not quite.

MUB Chairman J.T. Straface said the body was set to vote Thursday on a version of the agreement from late July, until a revised version arrived from the city late Wednesday.

So the special meeting served instead as an opportunity for the board to discuss this latest version, which it did in executive session.

But not before Cobun Creek Road resident Susan Elkin got a chance to speak.

Elkin, who served as the unofficial Cobun Creek Road spokesperson opposing the entire reservoir project, was back to offer comments on behalf of herself and three of her neighbors, each of whom own farms near the reservoir site.

The comments reflected frustration, particularly with the dawning realization that after years of construction traffic on a narrow, poorly maintained road, the heavy trucks are about to give way to the traffic of people looking to fish, kayak, hike or bike at the 125-acre reservoir site.

Elkin asked who within the city of Morgantown is representing the people who will live next to this city facility.

“I don’t understand this — how can the city impose on the county and people outside city limits to have something like this? … Is the sheriff planning on coming out? Is there going to be a resident ranger out there,” she asked, adding, “Please make this what it is supposed to be, a source of clean water, not a park.”

Morgantown Mayor Jenny Selin also addressed the board. She explained that the recreational amenities will not end up costing MUB rate payers, as MUB’s focus will be on the reservoir as a water source, while the city and BOPARC design, construct and oversee the recreational components using American Rescue Plan Act dollars.

Even so, MUB Board Treasurer Tom Witt reiterated his belief that there’s no need to rush into anything.

Witt pointed out that the dam just recently got to final height and will take months to settle before it gets the official all-clear. After that will begin the process of filling the 370-million gallon reservoir at a rate of no more than one foot per day, using precipitation and the natural flow of Cobun Creek.

He said the reservoir will not be filled until sometime in 2023, if not 2024, and that the board should not be “stampeded into recreation.”

Board Secretary Karen Kunz agreed.

“If we’re really that pushed on ‘Let’s get recreation,’ then let’s get White Park done,” she said.

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