* WHO :* Gov. Joe Manchin; West Virginia Transportation Secretary Paul Mattox; Sen. Mike Oliverio, D-Mon.; Morgantown Mayor Ron Justice; West Virginia University President David C. Hardesty Jr.; Student Government Association President Jason Gross; SGA Vice President Beth Belch; former SGA Vice President Shannon Logan; other WVU and community leaders

  • WHAT :* Willowdale sidewalk project groundbreaking

* WHEN :* 9:30 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 14

* WHERE :* Meet at intersection of Ira Rodgers and Willowdale roads near Puskar Center

* BACKGROUND :* WVU student government leaders won approval for the Willowdale sidewalk project last year. Sen. Oliverio signed an endorsement for the proposal, which calls for a five-foot-wide sidewalk, ramps for wheelchair access and additional lighting along Willowdale Road at a projected cost of approximately $556,000. A $445,283 grant from the federal Transportation Enhancement Program will pay for 80 percent of the costs; the rest will be split among WVU , the city of Morgantown and Monongalia County. The Willowdale sidewalk project marks the first time a student government group has submitted a proposal for Transportation Enhancement funds in West Virginia. Logan, who made the initiative part of her 2005 SGA election platform, cited several reasons for the project:

  • With WVU s increasing student enrollment, the development of new student housing is pushing further onto the Evansdale campus along Willowdale Road
  • Willowdale Road provides the main access to WVU Hospitals and a number of student residences and housing complexes occupied by students as well as WVU employees
  • The road shows signs of deterioration and is a safety concern among students
  • The street borders Milan Puskar Stadium and is heavily traveled on game days.
  • Willowdale Road also borders facilities such as NIOSH and leads to the future home of the WVU Research Park

The project is a joint effort between state government, WVU student government, the University, city of Morgantown, Monongalia county and local businesses and organizations. Applying for a Transportation Enhancement grant is a competitive process. The programadministered by the West Virginia Department of Transportation and Federal Highways Administrationlooks for projects that enhance the travel experience and foster the quality of life in American communities.