Dilapidated Dinsmore site to be cleared this summer

Apr. 9—MORGANTOWN — It looks as if a longstanding eyesore along Don Knotts Boulevard will be gone this summer.

As part of a light agenda, the board of directors for the Morgantown Utility Board voted on Tuesday to award a $291, 000 contract to Parrotta Paving to clear the former Dinsmore Tire property at 195 Don Knotts Blvd.

The work will include the demolition of all structures on the 1.26-acre property and the placement of a 12-inch gravel cap which will serve as a barrier between the surface and potential contaminants in the soil beneath.

The property is considered a brownfield, meaning it's complicated by the presence or potential presence of hazardous substances, pollutants or contaminants.

MUB was provided a $500, 000 grant from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to clean up the site, which sits at the northern tip of a sliver of land created by Cobun Creek and the Monongahela River.

It's also right next to MUB's water treatment facility, which is why the utility purchased it for $743, 000 in 2019.

Strand Associates is working on a preliminary engineering report for MUB on a project to replace and improve the powerhouse of the water treatment plant—the 50-plus-year-old high service pump station.

One of the options being considered is the construction of a new pump station on a portion of the Dinsmore site.

MUB Assistant General Manager Rich Rogers said he anticipates the clearing and capping work will be completed within 90 days or so.

The pump station project is expected to get underway in early 2025 and take 18 months to complete.

In other news from Tuesday's meeting, General Manager Mike McNulty said all the necessary permits are in hand for the utility's Upper Popenoe Run sanitary and stormwater project.

But some of the needed property easements remain elusive.

MUB Attorney Jeff Ray said there are still 12 easements outstanding.

"I think there's five or six different parties that we just haven't heard anything from, " Ray said.

McNulty has repeatedly said he would like to avoid getting the courts involved, if possible.

"The right-of way agent is reaching out to those five or six right now. Hopefully, we'll hear something back from them. As we get closer to when we have to bid, we'll have to make decisions if they don't."

MUB intends to put the project out for bid in August and begin construction in November.

The construction will be two separate jobs running simultaneously—the restoration of the upper portion of the Popenoe Run stream and the replacement of an undersized, 60-plus-year-old, clay sewer line that runs parallel to the stream.

The work area will stretch from the stadium parking lot side of Willowdale Road and run between Richland Avenue and Randolph Road to Hoffman Avenue, where it bends and runs behind the homes on Amherst Road to Stewart Street, near Shorty Anderson's Auto Service.