MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Longtime Morgantown farmers are urging residents to speak out against a potential roundabout on Green Bag Road.
Members of the Hastings Family, are voicing their concerns regarding a potential roundabout at the Dorsey Avenue/Kingwood Pike intersection scheduled to be built by the State Department of Transportation. The longtime landowners could very well be on the wrong side of the stick of the roundabout’s construction which would use up a fair amount of property if everything goes forward.
“We want people to know that the roundabout plan the only option that they have presented yet in a decade is very egregious,” said Mary Hastings, who’s family would lose up to an acre worth of space in the proposed plan. “It would drop eighty percent of that roundabout right on our growing space,” she said.
The project itself, has been in the works for several years as part of the statewide Roads to Prosperity project. Estimated at close to $10 million, the roundabout is designed to curb on truck traffic in the Downtown Morgantown area, as well help with traffic flow near South Middle, MTEC and White Park. While the project appears to show benefits, the Hastings feel that their family wasn’t properly contacted despite a past history with the State Department of Transportation.
“There’s no communication through the state, my dad has tried to get a hold of state roads numerous times,” said Ted Hastings, who also works on the farmland. “And the comments, he left a comment for them and they said ‘we’ll only really contact you when it comes time for acquisition, once we have made our plan and we are ready to take your land, we’ll work with you on a number, until then we don’t want to communicate with you,” he said.
According to members of The Hastings Family, the land has been farmed on and used for five generations for various purposes. Aside from farming various products on their acre worth of property, there is also a community garden that has been active for over a decade which has helped community farmers sell products in various parts of Mon County. This adds some extra value to the major financial risk the family could face if they loose the property due to the roundabouts construction.
“But if we were able to sell everything we grew, like as of like distributor price to retail sale, two hundred thousand I would say,” said Ted Hastings. “I would say there’s about a quarter of a million dollars worth of product in that field if sold correctly,” he said.
Right now, the project appears to be moving forward but there will be opportunities for members of the community to speak out either for or against the project. Even though they are against the roundabout project, both Ted and Mary Hastings expressed a desire to work with the DOT in finding an alternative. This includes the offering of a piece of their land as agreed upon in prior contracts to help expand the Dorsey Avenue/Kingwood Pike intersection be adding turn lanes where they could definitely be used. For now, it appears that the over two hundred people that have spoken towards alternative plans appear to need to speak up on September 29th more than ever.
“This road is plenty wide to share, we would let them have as much as they want for a turning lane,” said Hastings. “We’d put in enough for them to have a three-way road all the way up the Pike, because that is their right-of-way, but when they want to take this whole field and make it into a roundabout, the only problem here is that there’s no turning lane,” he said.
A link to make a public comment is here.