Riverfront project completed in Morgantown, soft opening planned

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The renovations to the Ruby Amphitheater, Riverfront Park, and Walnut Street Landing have been completed, according to a press release from the city.

“I am thrilled with the outcome of this project,” said Interim City Manager Emily Muzzarelli. “The renovations to the Depot and Ruby Amphitheater as well as the additional amenities at Walnut Street allow for expanded use of the park. This will become a destination spot for concerts and entertainment for city and county residents and allow for greater access to and enjoyment of the river by all. This has been a great project to be a part of.”

Over the past year crews from March-Westin have expanded the amphitheater stage and seating, added a sunshade over the seating area, renovated the historic depot, upgraded restroom facilities, and added security features. The project also included a new parking area and kayak launch and storage area at the Walnut Street Landing.

“Obviously not quite the opening and celebration that we were hoping for due to COVID,’Muzzarelli said,”But, we are hopefully planning a small ribbon cutting or opening, just waiting to see how the numbers go with COVID.”

The newly hired Director Arts and Cultural Development, Vincent Kitch will oversee the city’s arts and entertainment venues, including the newly renovated Ruby Amphitheater.

“I look forward to working with the community in developing arts and cultural programs and services at the Riverfront Park,”said Kitch,”The renovations to the park are wonderful and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to start with the city during this time.”

In 2018, the City of Morgantown was awarded $4.1 million from the Hazel Ruby McQuain Charitable Trust for renovations to the Ruby Amphitheater, Riverfront Park and Walnut Street Landing. The Trust provided an additional $200,000 in grant funding to provide additional
lighting along the trail.

“Part of the grant was to have a police substation there,”Muzzarelli said,”So, our police department is in the process of moving several of our police officers down there for our substation.”

The kayak launch is ADA accessible and available lockers allow people to secure personal property and walk to downtown for lunch or shopping.

“If an individual is in a wheelchair they’re able to transfer onto a seat and lower themselves into a kayak and then go out,”Muzzarelli said,”And there are also storage lockers.”

Once the COVID restrictions allow concerts and festivals are planned in the Ruby Amphitheater. The facility can also be rented for wedding and private events.