Volunteers clean up trail area near downtown dog park

Thanks to the efforts of dozens of community volunteers, trash and overgrown vegetation along a portion of Decker’s Creek Trail was cleared out Friday morning, giving a new life to the area.  

The cleanup began around 9 a.m. at Stanley’s Spot Dog Park, below the Walnut Street Bridge with volunteers concentrating on trash and brush removal along the trail from the Greenmont pedestrian bridge to where Decker’s Creek meets the Monongahela River.  

“The idea is to uncover this gem down here that we have,” said organizer and Morgantown business owner Louis Guiliani. “This whole area right here is public land and it’s not even coming close to reaching its potential. What we want to do is create more of a blank canvas so our city leadership can look at it and see the opportunity there. 

“It’s bigger than cleaning up a park,” he said. “This is talking about how we make our community healthier both wholistically and esthetically. We’re making this a more desirable place, a safer place, and not as intimidating because of vegetation overgrowth.” 

Prior to the group’s efforts the overgrown area made it nearly impossible to see the creek along the trail and covered most of the sight lines to and from the dog park. 

Guiliani said these little areas are collecting lots of trash and this is where people hide and where they find refuge, which is a struggle that is not going away overnight.  

The hope is that cleaning up these areas will push government leaders to create an action plan to best address the situation. 

“We might find out that this will help in tempering a struggle that this community is in right now with a lot of our brothers and sisters that are tied to addiction,” he said. “This is not about us against them, this is about all of us. This is our community.” 

Volunteers included community members and representatives from the Greenmont Neighborhood Association, Woodburn Neighborhood Association, BOPARC, Mon Valley Greenspace Coalition, Mon River Trails Conservancy, Rotary Club, Morgantown city government, city ambassadors and others. 

While this wasn’t the first community cleanup held, Guiliani said every time they do one, the number of volunteers increases, showing what can be done with a little teamwork among organizations. 

“We have a lot of good organizations that are doing good work, but right now as it is everybody is sort of working in their individual silos and we need to work to more collectively and we’ll find we will go a little farther.” 

As the volunteers continue their efforts along the trail, they hope city and county officials will see the potential of the area and the natural beauty it provides in the midst of Morgantown. 

“It has the potential to be our Central Park,” Guiliani said.