Commission updates broadband project, hears flooding concerns

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Progress continues with the Monongalia County Commission’s project to establish countywide broadband access.

During the commission’s regular meeting on Wednesday, Commissioner Sean Sikora said work is ongoing with Northeast Natural Energy to use their right-of-way. Using existing rights-of-way was part of the original expansion plan announced last year.

“We’re executing Ring 11 and we’re looking at the final mile,” Sikora said. “We’re having discussions with internet service providers (ISPs) to provide the final mile for that ring and at the same time looking at starting the next ring on the eastern end.”

Commissioners also heard from concerns over flooding issues in the Dellslow and Richard area. Vic Solomon, who lives in the area, address the commission during the public portion of the meeting, explaining that during hard rains water is running over the road and into people’s homes. Solomon stated that areas that have not flooded very often are now flooding on a regular basis.

Sikora promised the issue would be addressed with the state Division of Highways.

“The last time we had these conversations we were talking about having the DOH involved and looking into what actually is causing this and looking into them helping us fix this,” Sikora said.

In other business, commissioners agreed to transfer the deed for the county-owned Battelle District Fairgrounds, about 3.5 acres, to the Clay-Battelle FFA Alumni Association. The association is constructing a new 11,500-square foot barn to replace the facility that has been used for the last 95 years. That is in addition to $200,000 allocated to the project estimated to cost about $500,000.

Commissioners said transferring property ownership will reduce some legal liability for the county.

“Getting that property transferred over and applying the first deposit so they can get the materials ordered- it’s going to be really exciting to see the progress of that project and what that’s going to do for the western end of the county,” Arnett said. “We’ve made a strong effort to include the western end in all of our decisions, including starting the broadband project out there.”

The new barn is scheduled for completion in 2023.