Foresight With Infrastructure Key to Orderly Development

Thursday, Oct. 12, 2006

The Bridgeport News

Back in the 1990’s, the Monongalia County Commission hired a consulting firm to address planning issues as it related to areas surrounding Cheat Lake. Among the many concerns the Commission was looking to address at that time were development issues and the infrastructure needed to handle it properly.

The reason infrastructure issues arose in that area stemmed from massive growth around the lake. While a large portion of the growth was residential related, there was also plenty of growth on the commercial front and plenty of interested parties lining up to take advantage of what the area just off of Interstate 68 had to offer.

Sound familiar? It should.

Although Cheat Lake’s concerns were brought about by growth in an area outside of municipal zoning and development rules, the growth parallels are somewhat similar to what’s taking place here in Bridgeport. The good news for Bridgeport is that officials in the city and developers know the growth is coming. And they know the growth is coming on both the commercial and residential fronts.

With quality zoning guidelines already in place, the city’s primary task is to make sure future growth can be handled by new infrastructure and to make sure existing infrastructure won’t be overburdened by new development. It’s good to see the city is trying to handle this responsibility often overlooked by too many government entities.

Recently, city officials discussed infrastructure concerns as it relates to Charles Pointe. Even with a fraction of the development complete, under construction or in the planning stages, developers of Charles Pointe – Genesis Partners – and city officials are already making plans about how to handle a complete build out of the roughly 2,000 acre-development. A build out may still be 10 to 20 years or more down the road, but the city is wisely working with the developer on what to do to handle the growth if and when it occurs.

Staying ahead of the growth with the proper infrastructure will allow the impact of Charles Pointe on the city’s infrastructure, particularly the sanitary sewage system, to be minimal on the rest of the city. It also allows for development at Charles Pointe and all other sections in the city’s rapidly growing northern section to move ahead without development roadblocks that can stall and eventually kill projects that would otherwise provide tremendous economic benefits.

There may be some who believe the planning is a waste of time with a build out likely more than a decade away at the earliest. They might believe the city is simply doing the planning to advance the Charles Pointe development. And others may think money and time can be better spent elsewhere.

Those folks couldn’t be more wrong. The early planning will help eliminate problems elsewhere; problems that will cost more money in the future than it will to do in advance. And as for those who believe the city is simply doing this to benefit Charles Pointe, let us remind you that if that development was there or some other development was taking place, the city would have to have infrastructure in place to continue to grow.

The city is handling the issue properly. They’re planning now for the future. When it comes to infrastructure, it’s the correct – and only – way to do things.