Moundsville To Set New Goals

MOUNDSVILLE – From the closing 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 the city last updated its comprehensive plan in 1972.

With the help of West Virginia University College of Law Land Use and Sustainable Development Law Clinic, city leaders have completed an action plan they believe will help lead them in the years ahead. The plan identifies annexation of surrounding areas and the development of an urban renewal authority as “high priority” goals.

At the same time Moundsville seeks admission to the Municipal Home Rule Pilot Program to address taxation issues and dilapidated structures, City Manager Deanna Hess said more than two years of work on crafting the new comprehensive plan will culminate in a public hearing, set for 5 p.m. May 14 in City Council chambers.

“Things have changed a lot since 1972,” she said.

The final draft of the plan that will be up for discussion at the hearing features several objectives, while ranking each goal as high, moderate, or low priority. One of the main objectives is to weigh the costs and benefits of annexing certain areas around Moundsville.

Mayor Eugene Saunders estimates the city of 9,173 residents has about 40 dilapidated structures. The city intends to address this matter through home rule, but the comprehensive plan advocates creating an urban renewal authority to help redevelop “blighted and slum areas.”

As natural gas abstractors, drillers, frackers, pipeliners, processors and truck drivers continue moving into the Ohio Valley, Moundsville lies at the center of much of the Utica and Marcellus shale activity. The plan suggests Moundsville may be able to transform some former commercial structures to provide “adequate and affordable short and long-term housing.” The comprehensive strategy also states the city needs to ensure that it can provide fire and police services to those living in RV campgrounds in and around Moundsville.

Revitalizing the Commercial Historic District is another high priority, as the plan states this area could serve as center of activities in which residents could live, work, shop and recreate – all while maintaining the historic character.

Other major goals of the comprehensive plan include updating the city’s zoning codes and maps, continued development of the Riverfront Park, improving the condition of city streets and sidewalks, evaluating traffic patterns and increasing sports and arts activities for children, including the increased use of the Strand Theater and creation of a “graffiti wall for youth expression.”

To review the entire plan, go to