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City, BOPARC initiate financing for lower Marilla Park upgrades

With a $14.2 million aquatic complex under construction and slated to open in upper Marilla Park in summer 2025, BOPARC is turning its attention to the post-pool future of the park’s lower half. 

Morgantown City Council on Tuesday passed a reimbursement resolution indicating the city’s intent to issue up to $11 million in lease revenue bonds through the Morgantown Building Commission for improvements to lower Marilla Park. 

According to the resolution, those improvements will include a new bike/skate park, new tennis, pickleball and basketball courts, a recreational green space, new restroom, parking and shelter facilities and upgrades to the Marilla Center. 

Tom Aman, bond counsel for the project, explained the resolution creates no obligation for the city to move forward but allows bond proceeds to reimburse BOPARC for project expenditures in that eventuality. 

Aman said project architect Thrasher Engineering is indicating the project could go out to bid as early as October. 

BOPARC Executive Director Melissa Wiles told The Dominion Post the old Marilla Pool is scheduled to be demolished this fall after one last summer season. 

“Our target start is early spring 2025,” she said of the lower park improvements. 

As with the new aquatic complex and other city projects financed through bonds issued by the building commission, the commission will own the improvements and the city/BOPARC will repay the bonds in the form of lease payments. 

The bond lease payments for the upper and lower Marilla Park projects will be pulled from a pool of funds BOPARC has accrued in recent years specifically for this purpose. 

Of the $12,477,765 budget passed by BOPARC during its most recent regular meeting, just under half of that is made up of funds being carried forward for future projects.  

That includes $4 million in sales tax revenue that will be used to pay down the bonds — BOPARC anticipates another $2.4 million in sales tax dollars in the upcoming fiscal year — and $1.5 million in excess levy allocations for the upcoming ice arena project. 

In other news from Tuesday’s meeting, City Clerk Christine Wade said the city is hoping to combat staffing issues at the Morgantown Police Department by offering a $10,000 signing bonus for hired applicants already certified in West Virginia. 

Councilor Weez Michael said the department remains about 20 officers short of fully staffed. 

The Morgantown Police Civil Service Commission will hold the next entry level officer exams at 9 a.m. June 8 at the Morgantown Public Safety Building. 

To apply, click the “apply now” link at 

Lastly, council approved a summer paving list that includes roughly 5.5 miles of city streets. Anderson Excavating will do the work at a cost of $792,840. 

A 2024 street list and maps locating the paving projects are available at by finding the “paving plan” link in the “residents & visitors” pull-down.