By Karly Shire
The Board of Parks and Recreation Commissioners brought forth a proposal for a new recreation facility to the Commissioner in early December. The proposal offered two alternatives for the location of the rec center: Mylan Park or White Park. Months after the proposal was approved, a concrete plan has yet to be in place.
The “Morgantown Sports, Recreation, and Wellness Center” is aimed to fight the obesity epidemic that has taken over the country, particularly in West Virginia.
“The Morgantown Sports, Recreation, and Wellness Center envisions a healthier and happier Monongalia County. We are committed to working with individuals, companies, and local organizations to help them successfully reach their individual and family health and wellness goals in all areas of their life. In addition, our center is committed to creating a better economy by creating jobs, bringing in additional businesses, and creating a better living environment for our residents.”
– Mission Statement of the Morgantown Sports, Recreation, and Wellness Center
West Virginia leads the nation is adult obesity
While the original proposal had three separate divisions: the Morgantown Recreation Center, the Morgantown Ice Rink, and the Morgantown Aquatics Center; Commissioner Tom Bloom has updated that there has been a change in plans.
“WVU has decided to move forward on their project, which will be at Mylan Park, that would be the Natatorium. There has also been talk of adding a track as well as a golf course,” said Commissioner Bloom.
Because of this change, Mon. County will fund the project at White Park. The facility would take up approximately 15-20 acres, costing the county around $10 to $15 million. The Commissioner assured that these areas have been approved and there would be no environmental ramifications.
According to the proposal, some residents have expressed concerns regarding the location. However, Morgantown resident, Greg Riffon, is more than optimistic about the new facility. “I think White Park would be a great location for this rec center,” Riffon said. “The nature trails are great but I can only use them in nice weather, this rec center I can use year round.”
Although the area has been accepted and no environmental concerns have been raised, there is still concern surrounding construction and maintenance. The Environmental Protection Agency has set forth environmental guidelines for construction sites.
One of the biggest concerns with a project of this size is land disturbance. This includes the removal of vegetation or reshaping the landscape. Land disturbance can lead to erosion or runoff, both of which can lead to pollution of waterways.
There are several environmental factors to consider before starting construction.
These construction concerns have yet to be discussed. Plans to move forward in the project have halted, but there is hope that the project will take place sometime within the next two years.