County commits funds to study walking corridor along U.S. 522

by Kate Shunney

Morgan County officials have committed to spending $82,000 in Hotel/Motel funds as a match to a federal grant that will study the possibility of creating a pedestrian-safe access path from the Food Lion area in Berkeley Springs to the C&O Canal in Hancock.

Commissioners had previously agreed to spend $40,000 as a study match for a path from the parking lot of the Senior Center at Sandmine Road to the C&O Canal.

Study funding is coming from the Federal Highway Administration’s Office of Federal Lands. That federal agency’s mission is to oversee transportation to and within federal and Tribal lands. The C&O Canal is a National Historical Park under the National Park Service.

Commissioner Bill Clark, who has led the effort to secure the federal grant money, said the county has a chance to extend the study area all the way to the Food Lion/Best Western area in Berkeley Springs, with an added match of $42,000.

Clark said starting the study process could put the county in line for a federally-funded feasibility study. In 2025, the county could then apply for a grant to cover the entire cost of constructing the corridor, if approved.

That corridor could incorporate the North Berkeley Rail-Trail as part of its path.

County officials voted 3-0 to set aside $82,000 in Hotel/Motel funds for the study match.

911 center gets remote backup

In other business, the commissioners accepted a bid from Datto — a data backup company — to provide remote server service and backup data to the Morgan County 911 center.

Datto, which is headquartered in Miami, will keep an active backup of the 911 center’s computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system so it can be accessed at any time if the county’s own computer server fails.

Interim 911 Director Marshall Younker told commissioners the service would allow 911 to continue to function with its full access to maps, addressing and dispatching protocols in case of a local computer failure.

Datto will store Morgan County 911’s data offsite, maintain a current backup, and help restore the data if needed. The cost of the service is $999 per month for the term of the 3-year contract. Morgan County 911 will pay for the cost out of their department budget.

Commissioner Joel Tuttle recused himself from the discussion and decision because of a private working relationship with DSI, an IT solutions company helping the county with the server backup.

County officials also voted 3-0 to spend $16,317 to add a generator to the Sheriff’s Department office building behind Food Lion so the office can function if the power goes out.

Commissioners received one quote of $6,997 for the generator and $9,320 for the labor and electrical supplies to install the generator and tie it into the building’s electrical panel.