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The City of Morgantown was recently awarded a $4.1 million grant proposal from the Hazel Ruby McQuain Charitable Trust for enhancements to the Hazel Ruby McQuain Riverfront Park and revitalization of the Walnut Street Landing.
Morgantown City Council will discuss the award and vote on the proposed agreement tonight during its regular meeting. The gift will become official upon signing of the agreement. If approved, the project would begin in the Spring of 2018 and be completed the following year.
“We are absolutely thrilled with this announcement,” said City Manager Paul Brake. “This project will add a real vibrancy to the riverfront and spur private investment in that area.”
Renovations to the riverfront park will include expansion of the amphitheater stage and seating area, with an addition of canopies above the seats for shade relief. Upgrades to security features and entertainment equipment, among other items, are also included in the plans for the riverfront park renovations. A portion of the grant will go towards creating a police sub-station near the park and making improvements to the historic train depot and restroom facility.
The Walnut Street Landing will also see large scale improvements including a new parking lot, landscaping, kayak storage and launch and the utilities to connect to a large boat dock. The boat dock, which is not part of the grant, will be used for riverboat services.
The City will hire a new full-time position to maintain and operate the park and riverfront activities. As part of the grant, the City will be required to contribute $150,000 annually into a special fund for on-going maintenance and upgrades to the renovated park. The fund will be capped at $1,000,000.
With these improvements, the Hazel Ruby McQuain Riverfront Park and Walnut Street Landing will become a dynamic multipurpose recreation area better suited to house festivals, large musical acts, and grow into a more extensive community gathering space.
“This project allows us to meet one of the goals identified by Council in the Morgantown Strategic Plan, which is to expand the Mon River as a regional recreation and entertainment asset,” said Brake.