Residents concerned about homeless and renovations in local park

"MONONGALIA COUNTY", W.Va (WDTV) -- Morgantown's Hazel Ruby McQuain park in currently under construction for improvements.

But some residents are questioning if the renovations will actually make a difference to the area at all.

Their concerns come from the issue of the park being somewhat of a hot spot for the homeless.

Residents say they often see them roaming the area as well as find the trash they leave behind.

The issue was pointed out in a Facebook post and asks why the park is being renovated if its just going to be over run?

The comments left were a mix of positive and negative, but the question still remained for many of the residents if these renovations would do anything to help improve the area.

Morgantown resident and WVU student, Tyler Baylor said he used to park at the Wharf District Parking Garage right next to the park and that he would constantly have unpleasant run-ins.

"There was a lot of transient people there and nothing against them,but whenever your just trying to go to wherever your going to and you get harassed it gets annoying after a while," said Baylor.

He has since moved his usual parking spot elsewhere and even pays more for it than he did at Wharf District.

"I actually changed where I park at...to deal with that...I changed my routine, I pay more to park now just to avoid that area completely," said Baylor.

Baylor wont ever let his younger sisters park near the area as he fears it's not safe.

"My sisters....I wouldn't let them park down there because my sisters came to be students and I just didn't feel it was safe for them to walk through there," he explained.

However, Morgantown City Manager, Paul Brake, says there are two main factors as to why the renovations will make the park safer and deter any questionable activity.

"Part of the renovations to the depot will be a police sub-station, so there will be a presence of the police and by having an increased number of people that are going to the park and by increased activity...for that type of element...probably not want to be present in the park," said Brake.

Brake also said it's very important for people to feel safe when visiting the park after its renovations are complete.

"We want to achieve that safe level and people will be comfortable because it's families that'll be there, families with children and that's why it really important that we emphasize on a positive use of the park."

Baylor is still wary about returning the park, but says if the area is safe, he'd be happy to see the community thrive.

[Do you think you'll ever revisit the park?] "If the conditions improve yes, but I have not been there in a while, but I'm all for improving the community and trying to make it look better, trying to make it a better place in general," answered Baylor.

The park is set to reopen February of next year.