Community Weighs In On Comprehensive Plan

Oversize load industrial trucks traveling in the Commercial Historic District and the presence of vacant buildings throughout Moundsville are some of the problems residents and entrepreneurs hope the city’s new comprehensive plan will address.

For the first time since 1972, city leaders are updating the plan, in conjunction with officials from the West Virginia University College of Law Land Use and Sustainable Development Law Clinic.

More than two years of work will culminate in a public hearing, set for 5 p.m. Wednesday in City Council chambers at the Municipal Building, 800 Sixth St.

An increase in heavy truck traffic is one dilemma the draft plan proposes to help resolve. Barb Howard, owner of Country Lane Crafts on Jefferson Avenue since 2002, said the problem is getting worse.

“There is so much more truck traffic now. It seems dangerous. I hope they can find a way to resolve it,” she said.

Recently, Councilman Phil Remke said he wants the city’s Traffic Committee to do all it can to keep the oversize vehicles out of the business district.

“I would like to see them support the downtown businesses more. It would be nice to have better cooperation between the city and the businesses,” Howard said, though she emphasized Moundsville is a “great small town, overall.”

Revitalizing the business district is a high priority of the plan, as the strategy states this area could serve as center of activities in which residents could live, work, shop and recreate – all while maintaining the historic character.

“The businesses need to work in conjunction with each other, instead of working against each other,” city resident William Henderson said. “There are too many people looking out for their own interests.”

The plan also suggests that Moundsville may be able to transform some former commercial structures to provide adequate and affordable short and long-term housing.

Mayor Eugene Saunders estimates the city of 9,173 residents has about 40 dilapidated structures. The comprehensive plan advocates creating an urban renewal authority to help redevelop blighted and slum areas.

From the closure of the Fostoria Glass Co. plant in 1986 and the West Virginia Penitentiary in 1995, to the opening of Wal-Mart in 2006, Moundsville has changed a lot since 1972 when officials last updated the comprehensive plan. Although some seek change in Moundsville, Berry White lives directly across the street from the municipal building.

A 17-year resident, she said she is very satisfied with the city’s direction.

“The town is great. People are friendly and always willing to help each other out,” White said.

Glen Dale resident Brad Burrough runs a hot dog stand in Moundsville. He said local government leaders have a tough job.

“It is not easy to run a small town these days. I admire them for doing their best,” Burrough said.