Residents turned out for the development and improvement of the city at the Moundsville Comprehensive Plan open house workshop Wednesday.
Working with the Land Use and and Sustainable Development Law Clinic at the West Virginia University College of Law, residents and city officials had the opportunity to discuss Moundsville's strengths and weaknesses, while determining ways to improve and develop the city.
Improving city streets, removing dilapidated structures and identifying sites for future development and industry were clear priorities when residents were asked to rank possible improvements in the categories of transportation, housing and economic development. Managing truck traffic, fostering pride in local neighborhoods, increasing new home construction and creating recreation areas along the Ohio River were the goals ranked second.
Photo by Sarah Harmon
Moundsville City Councilman Phil Remke, left, Jared Anderson of West Virginia University and Moundsville City Manager Deanna Hess review a city map to determine current and future use of sites.
"Clearly, dilapidated properties are number one," Jesse Richardson, lead land use attorney, said. "We found dilapidated buildings are a problem everywhere in West Virginia, so that's not a surprise. Lots of strengths and opportunities in Moundsville - and that's not a surprise either. Clearly, they want to bring businesses and industry in Moundsville."
Dilapidated and vacant structures were a concern for Moundsville resident Fred Brunner as well.
"We've got a lot of empty houses in this city," he said. "There are so many empty houses, it's unreal. If you have an empty lot sitting between two dilapidated structures, contractors won't want to build. It's a catch-22 because people have property rights."
Brunner and resident Dennis Kidd also suggested the city extend U.S. 250 to run through the Wal-Mart parking lot onto W.Va. 2 to keep truck traffic off Jefferson Avenue.
"We need a direct route to take truck pressure off the city," Kidd said. "It eliminates them going through the city and it would save the streets."
Brunner and Kidd agreed the city's history, the Ohio River and tourist attractions are Moundsville's strengths moving forward.
Richardson said WVU representatives will present a draft of the city's comprehensive plan based on information gathered at the workshop to the Planning Commission in August.
City Councilman David Wood said the workshop was simply another step in the long process of developing the comprehensive plan.
According to City Manager Deanna Hess, the city has not created a comprehensive plan since the 1970s.
"A lot has changed since then," she emphasized.