Last Thursday saw the "Brown Breaking" ceremony of the Shepherdstown Public Library at the site of their future expansion. Friends, legislators, supporters and others gathered for the official kick off to the clean up the former Shepherdstown Municipal Dump which will one day serve as the location for the expanded library.
The property has been secured and currently belongs to the Jefferson County Development Authority. Director John Reisenweber told attendees that he had no idea when he took the job in 2012 that one of his first responsibilities would be cleaning up a dump. The Development Authority maintained ownership to secure federal funding for brownfields cleanup.
The town temporarily sold the property to the Jefferson County Development Authority, which received the grant from the EPA in the amount of $200,000 and is administrating that funding.
"We only want to own it for a little while," Reisenweber said. "We are simply administering the EPA clean up."
As the ceremony progressed, sounds of heavy equipment could be heard from the wooded area as debris was being removed.
Board of Trustees president Libby Sturm shared her excitement in hearing the noise as she said delays have been common in the project.
"Every time I turned around, I was signing an addition, an addendum, an amendment or a contract or waiting on a permit," she said.
Del Stephen Skinner commended the collaboration and partnership of the community in moving the project forward.
"Today is just the beginning. We have many days ahead of us until we see the vision of this information hub of northern Jefferson County," Skinner said. He told attendees that the future facility will serve more than 18,000 people.
Time was taken during the event to recognize the Shepherdstown Women's Club who had the vision for a library back in 1922. That group founded the current library, which, according to Taylor, will continue to serve the community in the form of a "reading room" after the new facility is completed.
A capital campaign is underway to secure funding for the library project. Expected costs are expected to exceed $3 million.
Taylor expressed delight at this milestone in the process and optimism that the project will be underway soon.