MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Candidates running for Morgantown City Council unveiled their plan Thursday to improve the city parks, public spaces, and the arts.
Candidates gathered at the mural on the corner of Pleasant and Chestnut street near the parking garage to talk about the “Morgantown Can’t Wait Plan” that they believe will support the arts, parks, and seniors. The group has conducted through surveys, discussions, zoom calls, and town hall meetings with residents to build a vision for the city.
“I just kind of came out to meet them and talk to them. It’s always great to meet more people who are going to bring art and good things to the community,” said Jillian Kelly, a resident of the City of Morgantown.
The candidates running for Morgantown City Council are: Marly Ynigues for the fifth ward, Ixya Vega for the third ward, and Brian Butcher for the seventh ward. Those candidates say they want to make Morgantown a beautiful, healthy, welcoming place for everyone to enjoy.
“Morgantown really needs, one thing small business really needs a lot of help. But when it comes down to the arts, you know, small business downtown in Morgantown really do work with the artists,” Kelly said. “I think they need to recognize how much we really do need different outlets. I started Morgantown Art Party because so many people needed space, artist needed space to work, they needed places to have shows, practice, show their art, sell their art. They just needed more, even though we have that in Morgantown, we need more of that.”
Also, those candidates say Morgantown’s art, parks, and public spaces are essential for the city’s economy and the wellbeing of the children and families within the city. The plan outlines the following:
- Increase public space and develop a long-term sidewalk plan (building off of the Morgantown Pedestrian Plan of 2010) for the city — working to refurbish, build, and maintain priority network sidewalks (in partnership with the Morgantown Pedestrian Safety Board). Advocate for lowering the trucking weight limits to the federal limit to reduce deterioration of our roads and infrastructure.
- Utilize a full-time grant writer to seek dollars for local arts, parks, school and community gardens, trails, efforts to re-route truck traffic, building rehab and community development.
- Address pollution wherever possible. Renegotiate the contract with Republic trash pick-up, improve coordination of trash removal, and police noise, solid waste, air, and water pollution.
- Continue the past council’s support of the Mayor’s Climate Agreement.
- Support opportunities for annexation as opportunities to set a high standard for community input, sustainable development, affordable housing set-asides, public safety, walkability, and other initiatives to garner long-term benefits to Morgantown’s quality of life and bottom line.
- Remove barriers to civic participation by increasing the availability of voting, including offering vote by mail. Establish office hours for city councilors and other public officials.
- Enact anti-discrimination policy changes to make Morgantown the second city in West Virginia (after Huntington) to achieve HRC’s highest possible score on the Municipal Equality Index. Prosecute discrimination in all its forms — pass the state’s first municipal Crown Act, offer menstrual products in public buildings, and end racial discrimination in health access.
- Pursue menstrual equity by eliminating the city taxes on these products and making them available in all city funded buildings.
- Work to fill every Morgantown Board and Commission with a majority of people who are directly impacted by the work of that group and seek representation in city hiring and decision-making.