MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Local respresentatives from neighboring counties are looking to work together despite being behind different state lines.
Monongalia County representatives and officials from Greene County Pennsylvania have been in discussions over the past few weeks to work on economic and developmental partnerships that could be considered benficial for both parties. The discussions were brought to the table after both county officials expressed desires to collaborate.
“They told us thousands of their residents come down to Morgantown and Mon County to work, and as we’re developing, people know that our housing is limited,” explained Monongalia County Commissioner Tom Bloom. “So this would be as I call it a symbiotic-economic relationship,” he said.
Bloom stated on WAJR’s Talk of the Town that there were several aspects of Monongalia County that Greene County officials expressed a desire in trying to benefit from. In particular, Mon County’s tourism spots such as trails and other outdoor friendly locations which is a regular travel spot for the neighboring Pennsylvania County. For Greene County, their hope is to help use those spots and help improve the development of some unpopulized locations which Mon County could assist in.
“Yes we have an invisible border, but really we have a lot in common with Greene County,” he said. “And there is so many programs like the bikes and running trails and the recreational programs, we could work together on that,” he said.
While Greene County is looking to take advantage of Mon County’s tourism opportunities, Bloom and other members of County Commission are hoping to take advantage of recent broadband infrastructure opportunities. In recent months, Greene County has been the recipient of a multi-million dollar broadband infrastructure grant that is intended to expand internet access to their more rural areas. Bloom, understanding Mon County’s need for said infrastructure, is looking to offer a trade off where Mon County can benefit.
“Broadband and increased internet services to the western end of the county,” he said about which areas could benefit from the partnernship.
The goal is that between both Mon County and Greene County officials, there will be some sort of development as a result of mutual promotion and economic agreements. While the broadband infrastructure projects in Greene County are still very much in their infant stages, Mon County is still proving to have a strong local tourism base. This is showing even during the COVID-19 pandemic where calls for outdoor ‘daycations’ are becoming commonplace for local tourists locations such as Coopers Rock. The hope for Bloom, as well as other Mon County and Greene County representatives, is that the neighboring counties will mutually benefit from the two infrastructures and create new ways for them to prosper.
“There’s just a lot of empty areas that could grow there and there are some big things on the horizon that will be coming up there that will benefit us,” he said.