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Morgantown Council approves tree bid as part of MUB’s White Park agreement

MORGANTOWN — It was April 2019 when residents first noticed trees marked for removal in White Park, kicking off a months-long drama between the city of Morgantown and the Morgantown Utility Board over the placement of a water line through the park.

On Tuesday, almost exactly four years later, Morgantown City Council approved a $142,810 bid from GMS Land Design to provide and plant 326 trees and shrubs on city property over the next four years — all on MUB’s dime.

Replanting trees at a 2:1 ratio was one of the concessions made by MUB in order to run a gravity-fed water line through the park, connecting its water treatment center to the new Flegal Dam and Reservoir on Cobun Creek Road.

MUB also agreed to fund a new trail south of the existing reservoir within the park and the construction of a water crossing allowing access to it.

It was previously explained the trail and bridge work likely won’t commence until sometime in 2024, meaning the trees going in White Park likely won’t be planted until late next year at the earliest.

“I think probably the trees in White Park will obviously wait until the work that is happening in White Park is done or at least the locations of what is happening is finalized,” Assistant City Manager Emily Muzzarelli said.

Muzzarelli also noted, “Most of our trees are actually planted over the winter. That’s when the standard planting season is.”

The city’s urban landscape personnel as well as its volunteer tree board and urban landscape commission will help identify locations city-wide for the new trees.

In other news, council approved on first reading a zoning change for two parcels at the corner of Van Voorhis Road and Burroughs Street, from PRO (professional, residential and office) to B-2 (service business).

The parcels are currently an empty two-acre field fronting on Van Voorhis and the Advantage Health and Wellness lot on the corner.

According to information shared at a previous meeting of the city’s planning commission, the change was requested “for the purpose of permitting restaurant or retail development.”   

Lastly, City Clerk Christine Wade explained write-in candidates for the upcoming April 25 municipal election have until April 11 to file.

Early voting will run from April 12-22 in the Historic Train Depot at Hazel Ruby McQuain Park, 185 Garrett St.

The candidates are:

1st Ward — Joe Abu-Ghannam, James Giuliani

3rd Ward — Louise “Weezie” Michael

5th Ward — Danielle Trumble, Marly Ynigues

7th Ward — Brian Butcher, Ben Mayle