Unknown to many residents of Morgantown, the city has a comprehensive plan that outlines the future of this great city. Although many have no idea of its existence, the plan states objectives and strategies for the next 10 years in Morgantown. Obviously, this is an important document.
The plan has to be updated (at least) every 10 years, and it just so happens that the document was finished this past June. Many of the items listed in the plan greatly affect students, especially since they are half of the town’s population. Here’s some of the stuff you want to know:
- There are plans to revitalize South High Street and University Avenue with mixed-use, but primarily residential buildings. As a mixed-use district, it will feature shops and restaurants on the ground floor with apartments on top, allowing students and other residents to have easy access to all of their needs. (page 44)
- There are similar plans for Beechurst Avenue, which has already been apparent. The new (and awesome) apartment complex, Beech View Place is fully taking advantage of the mixed-use lifestyle. The ground level features a new (much needed) grocery store, CoGos, Mountaineer Hots (American-style food), a Greek gyro shop, a café, a butcher shop, a pizza place and a nail, tanning and hair salon. Again, this is a great place for students since they don’t have to drive all the way out to Kroger to go shopping. (page 45)
- The Woodburn area will be revitalized, making it more pedestrian-friendly. This will include improved access to WVU’s campus and to downtown. The plan also states that there will be some mixed-use development, so students on and off campus can easily shop. (page 45)
- An expansion of neighborhoods in WVU’s agricultural land, by the 705 (West Run, Suncrest Towne Centre area) is in the works. According to the plan, “Growth in this area should be accessed and supported by a new multi-modal transportation corridor connecting the University Avenue and Route 705 corridors.” (page 46)
- The revitalization of Sunnyside has been pretty obvious. One thing the plan lists that will be great is more park and open space in the area. According to Sunnyside Up, they hope to expand the area to more than just college students, including young professionals, university staff and families.” (page 47)
- In general, the city hopes to increase sidewalks and street signage across Morgantown and Star City. (page 56) The city is also creating a Regional Bike Plan with a 10-year implementation plan with a connecting bike route network all across the city. (page 60)
- The City of Morgantown’s plan outlines a plan to partner with WVU to improve traffic. This includes “developing a grade-separated pedestrian crossing at Grumbeins Island” (that area you never stop and look both ways in front of the ‘Lair), a connection from the Coliseum to the Evansdale campus (it’s about time!) and a proposed parking garage beside the Coliseum. (They also want to “lobby WVU to develop long-term storage parking for students who live on and off campus.”) (page 64)
- According to EN 1.1 and 1.2, the city hopes to “lobby state and federal environmental agencies to strengthen air quality standards” and to “lobby state and federal environmental agencies to enhance the monitoring and enforcement of air quality standards.” (page 70) They also want to promote green building through a Green Building Program that utilizes techniques according to the LEED standards.
- According to the Housing and Neighborhoods section, they want to form a task force of students to address property issues, and they want to conduct a student cleanup twice a year. To ensure the streets of Morgantown are as safe as possible, they also will require adequate street lighting. (page 77)
- Additionally, many students will love that the city wants to develop a plan to incentivize the development of affordable student housing. (page 78)
Though you may only live in Morgantown for four years, this plan is looking toward the future, taking into account the inevitable growth of a college city such as this. With an emphasis on mixed-use zoning, walkability and alternate forms of energy, Morgantown is making this one of the best college towns for future generations (and Mountaineers) to come.