The Times West Virginian

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August 25, 2013

Poll, letters favor county on riverfront

FAIRMONT — The Marion County Commission is looking for an answer on whether the City of Fairmont will trade property it owns at Palatine Park so they can move forward with a riverfront development plan.

On July 2, the commissioners met with Fairmont City Council and announced that they had officially acquired a large piece of property along the Monongahela River on Fairmont’s East Side, butting up against Palatine Park.

Commissioners revealed a development plan for the property and asked that the City of Fairmont consider trading Palatine Park for the 100 block of Adams Street, the site of the now-demolished State Office Complex.

Upon purchasing the property from CSX Transportation Inc. in June, the county has made progress on the first phase of the riverfront development project. That phase extends from the Bauer Building/Election Center to the site of the former Low Level Bridge and includes clearing out space for walking trails and adding restrooms, fishing docks, boat docks and ramps, a splash park, picnic tables, parking, pavilions, a water garden and maybe even a gazebo for weddings.

But the county wants to extend the redevelopment beyond that, and needs cooperation from the city to do so.

It seems if there has been bad blood between the city and the county since. The county is accusing the city of dragging its feet and standing in the way of progress. The city says the county is bullying them and they need time to make a decision.

We wanted to know what our readers felt about the issue. And you know, we always take the hard questions to our readers at in our weekly poll analysis.

Here are the final tallies for the question “The county wants to develop the riverfront on East Side but lacks a key piece of property the City of Fairmont owns at Palatine Park. Where do you stand?”

• The city has resources that would be beneficial to the project. A partnership is in order —16.67 percent

• Egos are clashing and the residents are the ones who will suffer for it. Set aside differences and work out a solution — 36.76 percent

• The county has a great record of park development and has the money to do it. Trade the property — 46.57 percent

In addition to asking people to vote on our website, we sought more detailed comments from readers, who brought in letters, sent emails or responded directly online.

Here are their thoughts:

Riverfront: A giant step forward

I am excited about what our county and city are doing by building the riverfront at Palatine Park. I am also happy the DNR is participating in this project. This is just a beginning of the growth of our City of Fairmont. When outside businesses see what is happening here, they will be motivated to get in on the ground floor and build their business, exactly what our city needs. This is a proven fact,  look what Morgantown has done when they built their riverfront. They now have a very prosperous and thriving riverfront. Fairmont is on their way to do the same, and the results will be the same.  Small businesses, motels, hotels, and who knows where this my take us in future months. This is a giant step forward.

Tony Pulice


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