Big news for our neighbors in the Mon Valley: Morgantown, West Virginia has been awarded $4.1 million in grant funding from the Hazel Ruby McQuain Charitable Trust for enhancements to the city’s Monongahela River waterfront.
The grant will fund improvements to the Hazel Ruby McQuain Riverfront Park including expansion of an existing riverfront amphitheater, new amenities for visitors like shade canopies and a public restroom facility, and new entertainment equipment and security features. Revitalization of the adjacent Walnut Street Landing includes new landscaping, kayak storage and utilities that can connect to a future boat dock that would serve river traffic.
As part of the grant agreement, the City of Morgantown will hire a new full-time park manager and programmer and will be required to contribute to an annual maintenance fund for the park. Once the project agreement is signed by the city, construction could begin this spring. City officials predict the project will help catalyze nearby private investment.
Since 2016, Riverlife has worked with the Northern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center in Morgantown, Chester, Weirton and Fairmont, W. Va. as part of Riverlife’s outreach program to provide riverfront planning tools to Mon River valley towns. Riverlife and the Center have met with town officials, regional urban planners, neighborhood groups and economic development organizations to tour waterfront sites, host community feedback workshops and review existing plans for redevelopment. Riverlife has provided case studies and lessons learned over almost two decades of working on Pittsburgh’s waterfront revitalization and the resulting economic benefits.
Riverlife’s outreach program is funded through a grant from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation. The investment from the foundation is being used to share successful riverfront improvement models that can be replicated in Mon River communities in both southwestern Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Other leading partners in the initiative include the River Town Program and the Mon River Valley Coalition.
We congratulate Morgantown for its determination and vision in advancing these waterfront improvements and can’t wait to see the results!