Morgantown City Council holds special workshop about issues affecting downtown area

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Morgantown police chief, Ed Preston, gave a presentation on specific issues affecting the downtown area on Friday at a Morgantown City Council workshop.

He discussed what he would like to see done to get back some of the business that has been lost due to problems with homelessness and drug and alcohol addiction.

“Probably one of the largest things is a cooperation between businesses and service providers and the city government in general, working towards a full fledged response to quality of life in and around the central business district,” said Preston.

The police department has four officers retiring in the near future and is looking to fill the vacancies as soon as possible to provide more manpower to respond to incidents. Due to training, it takes about one year from the time a new officer is hired before that officer can actually begin working.

“We’re looking at quite some time before we can get additional officers,” said officer Steve Bennett.

Government officials said they are confident that progress can be made in the coming months to continue to help those affected by addiction.

“Our community has worked very hard to serve the needs of a very vulnerable population. We continue to be committed to serving all of our public and we are going to work together to address this problem now,” said Deputy Mayor Rachel Fetty.

Delegate Danielle Walker, who represents District 51, also made sure to attend the meeting to show her support for the city of Morgantown and its residents.

“Morgantown, we can do this. We’ve done it before. We’ve faced more obstacles. The time right now is for each of us to come together and listen and be proactive,” said Walker.

City council members said that they do not have an exact time frame, but that they plan to begin taking action on ideas discussed within the coming weeks.

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