Friday, April 16, 2010

Litter has been dealt with - for now

Yesterday, our a crew from our parks department in Morgantown spent hours cleaning up the east bank of the river from Walnut Street upriver past the Waterfront Place Wharf District. They did a bang-up job! Thanks! Ralph LaRue, the supervisor, was upset, too.

This morning I saw the WVU rowing teams out on the river practicing for their meet this weekend. That's always a beautiful scene. And because of BOPARC's effort, it was this morning.

Do you hear what I'm saying? We have a rowing team that will bring people from other states onto our river, and fans of both teams will be on the banks cheering. What kind of impression do we want them to take away when they see our river? A good one, of course, but that's going to take some hard discussion and planning and work and commitment.

Things are better now than in the past. For example, our parks department cleaned up the litter spill. That would not have happened years ago. And Richard Lockwood of the Corps of Engineers has expressed his regret about the incident.

Deepest apologies to you and all our Mon River Partners. Please know that we are sensitive to the issue of Drift and Debris on the Mon - especially at Morgantown - and would never intentionally flush debris through any of our dams.
Unfortunately we needed to set a bulkhead in the dam gate bay at Morgantown for safety purposes. This was related to an ongoing maintenance contract on our remote dam controls. The only way to set that bulkhead was to clear the gate bay.
While the outcome of that operation with respect to debris would have been the same no matter what, I think we owe it to you as our partner not to create a nasty "surprise". Clearly we did just that.
Hopefully you are aware that Harry Durinzi has retired and that Lockmaster Bob "Smitty" Smith has moved to backfill behind Harry. While Smitty is a highly skilled Lockmaster, we may not have passed to him the same level of partnering that we had developed with Harry. That failing is mine and I deeply apologize."

I will attend the Mon River Summit Monday and talk to all concerned to see what progress can be made on this issue.

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