MORGANTOWN, W.Va. The Mon Valley Green Space Coalition has released details of a proposed Morgantown Greenbelt in order to increase local partnerships.

The map of the greenbelt, which is split into a northern belt and a southern belt in between a central loop that encompasses downtown Morgantown, was released as part of a partnership with the coalition and the West Virginia Land Trust. This included details on planned trails around the Morgantown area that will be presented to Morgantown City Council in the coming months, with hopes of bringing other entities onto the project.

“That’s really our goal right now; it’s to get people brainstorming, followed by rolling it out to the city council, and (getting people) supporting the network to advance this whole idea,” said West Virginia Land Trust Science and Land Management Specialist Rick Landenberger. “We’ll have more meetings, and people are welcome to join the Mon Valley Green Space Coalition to help us flesh out some of the connections,” he said.

The northern portion of the Morgantown Greenbelt consists of the West Virginia University Downtown Campus and works all the way up past Star City with a connection at West Run Road. That would be used with a combination of the Mon River Rail Trail and the construction of new trails that would be built based on data on locational trail usage and population. The same would take place in the southern portion of the greenbelt, which would connect to trails from a newly created loop of trails around the Morgantown Airport and connect to trails within the BOPARC parks system.

“The idea is to use the existing infrastructure,” said Landenberger. “We have tremendous rail trials, and basically, we plan to build off that existing infrastructure, using what other people have done and putting it together on this map,” he said.

According to Landenberger, the release of the Morgantown Greenbelt Map was timed with local trail projects to increase local involvement. In particular, he mentioned trail projects involving the City of Morgantown and WVU as opportunities to collaborate and combine the trails to complete what would be over twenty miles of walkable trails around the immediate Morgantown area. With a strong chance that a complete Morgantown Greenbelt would be a costly endeavor, Landenberger hopes the collaborations could not only help with singular projects but also with the costs of a large-scale one.

“This would literally be BOPARC, City (of Morgantown), MUB (Morgantown Utility Board) would be a partner, and the MMMPO (Morgantown Monongalia Metropolitan Planning Organization) would be a partner,” Landenberger said. “It would be this project that would bring people together to collaborate for sustainable trails in Morgantown,” he said.

Plans for the Morgantown Greenbelt included a combination of members of the Mon Valley Green Space Coalition and other local organizations. Landenberger specifically pointed out the Morgantown Monongalia Metropolitan Planning Organization’s involvement in the design of the greenbelt, which has also been separate from conversations with the Mon River Trails Conservancy and BOPARC to discuss potential options. As the proposal is prepared to be shown to Morgantown City Council, the plan is to welcome any group that would be willing to make the Morgantown Greenbelt a reality.

“We’re supporting the city, WVU, and anybody else who wants to get on board and work towards this thing,” said Landenberger. “It’ll probably end up being a partnership, my guess, and it will take quite a bit of money to implement fully,” he said.

The Mon Valley Green Space Coalition will meet Wednesday, April 10 at 6 p.m. via zoom.

For a link to the meeting please email [email protected]