Morgantown City Manager: "We Must Find A Balance"
Written by Andrew Forgotch
Last updated on November 15, 2012 @ 12:05AM
Created on November 14, 2012 @ 7:04PM
It looks like students are flocking to West Virginia University in record numbers.
Officials with the blue and gold recently released their latest enrollment numbers and right now there are record 29,706 students enrolled at the university.
If you add that to a report they've spent more than $56-million to buy property in the last two years and it's easy to see that they're growing very quickly.
That's left some folks, who have lived in Morgantown all their lives, feeling like they're being phased out.
"People have invested in properties and they're taking these properties away from them," George Fleming, a Morgantown resident, said.
Some of the more notable recent purchases include part of the Square at Falling Run. They paid a little more than $5-million dollars for that property.
They also spent a little more than $26-million on the Suncrest Office Suites and the United Center.
The downfall is that most times when WVU buys a property it becomes tax exempt, and that means the city loses out on that revenue.
"The economic experiences of the community goes hand in hand with the existence of West Virginia University and the related business activity associated with its' presence," Terrence Moore, Morgantown City Manager, said. "For that reason a collaborative relationship is highly necessary moving forward."
That's why Moore is feeling better about the purchase the university made to grab huge chunks of Sunnyside for about $14-million.
"What were talking about is a 40 year life associated with the housing component," Moore said. "Not to mention some private retail space such as grocery stores and some other features of the project."
That deal is technically between a developer and the city, not WVU.
Moore said they'll get at least $2-million from it, and it's the kind of relationship he wants to see moving forward.
"That's why it's highly comparative that we continue to collaborate with the university," Moore said. "(Especially) directly with the respect to infrastructure management, traffic issues, and other dynamics expected with that expected growth above and beyond where they currently are."
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