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City Lands $120,000 Grant as Part of Proposed Trail Project to Recreation Complex in Excess of $1 Million

December 12, 2018
For those wanting to see the City of Bridgeport’s heavily utilized trail system be expanded, there was some really good news Monday. In fact, there was well over six figures worth of good news.
 
City officials were in Morgantown to receive a grant from the West Virginia Transportation Alternatives and Recreational Trails Program. The program, administered by the West Virginia Department of Transportation and funded by the Federal Highway Administration, has been utilized for years in expanding the city’s trail system and sidewalks.
 
The awards were announced by Gov. Jim Justice, who was unable to attend due to the snowstorm that struck southern West Virginia Sunday. However, state officials presented Bridgeport with a grant for $120,000 that will go toward design work of a newly planned – and massive – trail.
 
The $120,000 includes the city’s portion of the 80-20 match requirement and the entire amount will go toward the $150,000 that is expected to be needed for doing planning for the project. The trail project in question is estimated to have a $1.1 million price tag, said City Engineer Beth Fox. The price total, she said, includes the planning.
 
“This is a substantial trail project that will link the new indoor recreation complex, go behind the Worthington Village area and with this phase end in the area near Compton Park,” said Fox. “That will combine a residential area to the recreation complex area.”
 
To get an idea of the scope, Fox said if completed it will be a roughly two mile paved trail. The reason for the “if” portion is that once the planning is done Fox said they will re-submit to the same grant program to cover the bulk and perhaps all of the construction costs. The city may submit multiple times for funding and do the project in phases, Fox told City Council at Monday's meeting.
 
“The trail will need to have the grade work done first and once it’s finished it will also have lighting and other features,” she said. “The main reason to go this route and why I applied for this grant is there are currently no alternative access point to the Bridgeport Recreation Complex beyond (Route) 131, which is certainly not conducive to pedestrians or those biking.
 
“We hope this planned trail will open up the complex to younger kids or student without their licenses or anyone looking enhance their physical fitness through running jogging or biking,” she continued. “This trail will allow for that in an area minus vehicular traffic.”
 
Bridgeport Parks and Recreation Director Joe Shuttleworth, who was in Morgantown with Fox and Mayor Andy Lang to receive the grant, said it is part of an ongoing process he’s witnessed during his lengthy stay with the city.
 
“As part of our master planning process, we’ve taken great strikes over the last 10 to 15 years to make the city more feasible for walking and this certainly falls in line with what we’ve done and what we’re doing,” said Shuttleworth. “We’re also working right now on a trail on Virginia Avenue toward the lakes, but that’s a little more complicated as we maneuver through right of way issues and property. It all ties together and this project where initial funding was secured (Monday), again, falls in line with how we hope to continue to evolve.”
 
Shuttleworth said the idea of combining a residential area with a safe access point to the Bridgeport Recreation Complex is a good idea. He said he hopes to see it come to fruition.
 
“A kid could jump on their bike and ride over. The Bridgeport Recreation Complex now, and certainly in the future, will be a hub of activity and the plan for this trail connects things and opens the door for more,” he said.
 
Several other projects received grants as well. They included the following:
 
•  City of Shinnston: $4,000 for construction of new trailhead and trail to provide access to the West Fork River located in Shinnston. The total project cost is $5,000.
 
•  City of Fairmont: $42,267 for design and construction of school-zone safety flashers. The total project cost is $52,834.
 
•  Marion County Parks and Recreation Commission: $120,000 for acquisition of a cross-town trail link connecting the West Fork River Trail with the McTrail and the Mon-River Trail within Marion County. The total project cost is $150,000.
 
•  City of Westover: $240,000 for the design and construction of 1,700 linear feet of sidewalk along Dunkard Avenue from the intersection of Columbus and Dunkard Avenue to the intersection of Holland and Fairmont Road within the Town of Westover. Total project cost is $300,000.
 
•  Monongahela River Trails Conservancy: $46,400 for design and construction to repair and upgrade the drainage infrastructure of the Caperton/Mon River Trail located within Monongalia County. Total project cost is $58,000.
 
•  Monongahela River Trails Conservancy: $120,000 for design and construction of lighting for the half-mile Caperton/Mon River Trail section along the Morgantown Wharf District located within Monongalia County. Total project cost is $150,000.
 
•  Town of Bruceton Mills: $120,000 for construction of replacement sidewalk with lighting along WV 73 and Union Street within downtown Bruceton Mills. Total project cost is $150,000.
 
•  Preston County Parks and Recreation Commission: $80,000 for the design of approximately 10 linear miles of new rail trail corridor for the WV Northern Rail-Trail located within Preston County. Total project cost is $100,000.
 
•  Glendale Park Trail and Equipment: $67,747 for the design and construction to resurface recreational trails and purchase of a tractor with attachments for maintenance of Glendale Park in Elkins, WV.
 
•  City of Buckhannon Gateway West Phase III Construction: $213,623 for the construction of a multi-use pathway from the areas just west of the City of Buckhannon to downtown.
 
Editor's Note: Top photo shows Mayor Andy Lang, left, with City Engineer Beth Fox and Parks and Recreation Director Joe Shuttleworth Monday receiving the city's grant. Bottom photo shows the trail system getting some use out by the lakes. Below is a schematic showing the proposed future trail system.