Former write-in candidate seeks First Ward council seat in Morgantown

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Apparent winner in Morgantown April municipal election, Patrick Hathaway opted to decline the seat after his wife received an employment and they decided to move out-of-state. Now, Morgantown councilors are accepting applications from First Ward residents to serve a two year term.

A Morgantown native, downtown First Ward resident and current WVU student, Seth Collins ran against Hathaway as a write-in candidate and has submitted his application and is hoping to serve.

“I’m really excited about city council getting to know me in-person,” Collins said,” Obviously, this is the way the city decided to go and they’re following the charter, so which ever way they go is fine with me.”

On WAJR’s Talk of the Town, Collins said he is pursuing a Masters Degree in Public Administration and wants to use his skills and knowledge of the community to improve the First Ward, including the downtown area.

“I was born and raised in Morgantown this place is my home, it’s very near and dear to me,” Collins said,” I live downtown, that’s always been something important to me, West Virginia University is right in my hometown, so it’s where I’m going and I’d really like to get involved in the city and this is the best way I could think possible.”

Collins has proposed using CARES Act money to hire a Downtown Morgantown Business Director and develop an economic development grant fund that could be used to attract businesses downtown.

“You go to other places and you see these very thriving downtowns, people are always hustling around and going to businesses, seeing all the places like that’s the center of the town,” Collins said,” And I’d really like to see that in our downtown.”

Drawing experience from academics and community service, Collins believes those principals can be applied to managing and growing the city.

I did start my internship with the Friends of the Cheat and they do a lot work with community development in the Preston Trail Towns program,” Collins said,” So, I’ve been trying to learn more about that and trying to find ways I can apply that to Morgantown city council.”

Collins said quality of life improvements in downtown could further growth in surrounding areas that could draw jobs.

“Finding ways to get more jobs in the town to keep people here and get them more invested in the idea of the town as well,” Collins said.

The applications period is open until July 16. On July 16, the final list of applicants will be posted on the city website. Interviews are expected to be held July 20 and council will vote to appoint the new member July 27.