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City’s Pleasant and Walnut streetscape projects get a boost from federal funds

MORGANTOWN — From Pleasant Street then Walnut Street to Pleasant Street and Walnut Street.

Morgantown City Manager Kim Haws said Tuesday that the city has received an additional $558,819 in federal aid to complete the city’s Pleasant Street streetscape project.

That, in conjunction with an additional $139,704 match from the city’s contingency fund, will allow the $1,478,524 project to move forward this summer.

Those improvements, which went to bid in January, will include the construction and repair of sidewalks, tree pits and pedestrian-scale lighting from University Avenue to Spruce Street.

City representatives told The Dominion Post last month that in an effort to keep the costlier-than-anticipated Pleasant Street work on track, it was planning to reallocate funding away from a similar project planned for one block of Walnut Street, between Spruce and High streets.

That’s no longer necessary.

“The division of highways actually identified some additional grant funding, so that would allow us to keep funding for the Walnut Street streetscape in place and allow us to, with the additional $139,000, be able to move Pleasant Street forward,” Assistant City Manager Emily Muzzarelli said.

 Asked if work on Walnut Street could also begin this year, Muzzarelli said, “That’s the goal.”

The Walnut Street project has the added complication of right-of-way issues tied to underground vaults connected to the buildings along that section of the street.

“We hope it will at least go to bid in 2023. Depending on how quickly that goes, it could get to construction in 2023, or it could get to construction in 2024. We’re not exactly sure of the timing of that yet,” Muzzarelli said.  

In other news, council approved a $122,590 contract with Parrotta Paving for site preparation work tied to playground improvements at the Woodburn Community Center. 

The site preparation will include drainage work, grading, installation of an ADA parking spot, and realignment of the existing fence along Columbia Street.

Council also approved $197,700 to LATTAS for the installation of the playground and play surfaces. That work is expected to be completed by June 21.

Lastly, City Clerk Christine Wade provided an election update, explaining her office has verified the charter-mandated 75 nominating signatures of 1st Ward incumbent Joe Abu-Ghannam and challenger James Giuliani as well as 3rd Ward candidate Louise Michael, 5th Ward incumbent Danielle Trumble and 7th Ward candidate Ben Mayle.

Wade said her office is still verifying signatures from 5th Ward challenger Marly Ynigues and 7th Ward incumbent Brian Butcher.

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