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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Development and Capital Investment in Morgantown


This is what development looks like in the environment of a vibrant economy. The photo at left is the Boathouse Bistro in Morgantown, West Virginia. Sure, one might say, "anyone can build a new restaurant." But if I had turned around and snapped another photo, you would have seen a shot of the new, under-construction Marina Tower office buidling. Connecting all of this is the Morgantown Riverwalk path. It is undeniably cool and convenient to be able to set out on foot from the Waterfront Place Hotel and walk to several appealing destinations, such as the ampitheater, the rail trail, Oliverio's (and several other eating/drinking establishements) and around a dozen office locations. In addition to the capital injection downtown, there's a $1.2 billion capital investment underway in the county with the new Longview Power plant.


Yes, there is traffic to contend with (and they are working on solutions), but Morgantown has energy and momentum. It is envigorating to come here. Part of the success comes from the University's presence here. From my perspective, the other part ... the Morgantown "Tipping Point" was the decision by its leaders to embrace and leverage the power and impact of their river, the Monongalia River. That has spurred capital investment, which fuels development ... and momentum ensues.


My visionary friend, Jeff James and I landed on an outlandish (maybe not, once you ponder it) idea that our state should connect Morgantown and Charleston via light rail. As Jeff said, "They ought to just extend the Personal Rapid Transit system (or PRT) from Morgantown to Charleston." And so what originated as an off-handed remark makes all the sense in the world.
  • Saves gas - in a time in which gas prices are only going to rise.
  • Improves and enriches the travel experience.
  • Adds convenience for the traveler.
  • Alleviates traffic congestion.
  • Decreases traffic accidents.
Who agrees? Who disagrees? Let us hear from all marketing geniuses on this topic, please!

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4 Comments:

Blogger Mace4Thought said...

I think the light rail idea is very interesting. I attend the College of Law at WVU and I work for US Airways in Charleston on the weekends. I was actually flying between the two until US Airways downsized the PIT hub and now I have to drive.

I know so many students who return to the Charleston area on weekends, many of whom don't have cars in Morgantown so they have to either get rides from friends on have someone drive up to get them.

A public mass transit link between the two cities would create a link between the "brain trust" of WV, WVU, and the money, and power center of WV, Charleston. Plus the views could be great.

Just don't extend the PRT... it breaks down enough as it is :)

5:59 PM

 
Blogger Skip Lineberg said...

Mace-
Thank you for adding to the conversation. Your comments are greatly appreciated.

We'll make sure they take into account the PRT's breakdown habit.

Skip

8:31 PM

 
Anonymous Marie Sharp said...

Skip,

The light rail idea is an excellent one! I have long thought that would be a good idea between Charleston and Huntington with stops in Milton, Teays Valley, Barboursville, etc.

Perhaps it would be beneficial between Morgantown and the Eastern Panhandle, too? I think we would all like to see those folks riding a train the other way!

4:00 PM

 
Blogger Skip Lineberg said...

Marie-
Thanks for adding to this conversation. Your suggestion is an excellent one!

Skip

9:55 PM

 

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