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Park plan calls for outdoor performances

By Staff | Mar 13, 2009

The proposed beautification and showcasing of Rumsey Park and the approval of a “Freedom’s Race” running event topped the agenda at the Shepherdstown Town Council meeting Tuesday at Town Hall.

Members of the Shepherdstown Rotary Club were present at the meeting to present a final beautification plan to the Council. The Master Plan, a product of two years of planning, relayed the history, the present situation, and the hopeful future of Rumsey Park off Mill Street.

Rumsey Park was established in 1915 at a cost of $15,200 to honor Shepherdstown inventor James Rumsey’s invention of the steamboat.

As the master plan claims “the last 95 years have not been kind to this parkland.” The park has been the victim of vandalism and is in dire need of maintenance.

The process of cleaning up the park could take years; Phase 1 has been approved by the Council. It involves clearing out brush, trimming the trees on the riverbank and putting up new signage in town to direct visitors to the park.

The final proposal within this first phase is to put on a performance series in the park. A possible name for this series, according to the plan, is Performance on the Overlook at Rumsey. Two performances would take place on July 4 and Sept. 5 this year.

After the performances, the Rotary Club and Parks & Recreation Committee will analyze the success of Phase No. 1 through numbers of attendance and residents’ comments.

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On Saturday, Oct. 3, 2009, Shepherdstown will be a contributing endorser of a “Health and Heritage marathon.”

Mark Cucuzzella presented the plans for the event to the Town Council. The race will be a health and fitness event incorporating the education of the region’s heritage. “We want to encourage a healthy community and draw attention to the history and heritage of a region,” said Cucuzzella.

This will be held in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War and the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service.

About 2,000 participants are expected; these participants will be walking or running from Harper’s Ferry to the Appalachian Trail, up the C&O Canal and finishing at the Shepherd University football stadium.

In addition to the 26-mile marathon, there will be a half marathon, a 5K and 10K, and a Family Fun Run. The Council approved the proposal of the event which is set for Oct. 3 from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Council accepted the resignation of Town Recorder Lance Dom. According to his letter of resignation to Mayor Jim Auxer, Dom has moved outside of Shepherdstown boundaries, making him ineligible to carry out his former responsibilities.

The Council approved Councilman Howard Mills as the temporary acting Recorder and is accepting letters of interest from town residents to fill Dom’s unexpired two-year term. Call 876-2312 or visit Town Hall, 104 N. King St., for more information.