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Shepherdstown stimulus package wide ranging

By Staff | May 1, 2009

Mayor Jim Auxer

The country is in the season of the stimulus – stimulus here, stimulus there, stimulus this, stimulus that. Yes, we seek and receive federal and state grants, but our town often generates its own stimulus package.

Some of the results of the Shepherdstown Stimulus cost each of us little money, yet it generates appreciable returns. The Streetscape Project for instance: new walkways that improve safety (on the sidewalks and street crossings), handicap access on German Street, curbs, improved drainage on both sidewalks and streets, all of which will reduce the long-term maintenance on our main street.

Streetscape came at a cost of $1.4 million: $658,000 from a federal grant and $735,000 from accrued video lottery money. The federal portion of the grant was specific to this project; video lottery monies allocated by the town are discretionary. We have approximately 1,200 in-town residents; since video lottery money is determined by census figures, think of it as residents accounting for $600 each in Streetscape Project funding.

New Businesses-

When you visit nearby towns and see empty storefronts is it really a sign of the times? Maybe. Maybe not. Vacant storefronts in Shepherdstown do not remain vacant very long; even in this economy, entrepreneurs desire the three things contributing to a successful business: location, location, location. Consider our location as part of the self-generated Shepherdstown stimulus package.

Yes, businesses come in and go out; the storefronts that have been darkened in the last year are coming back to light. As this is being written: Mellow Moods is expanding into a nearby space; Greg Didden and Associates downsized, but is still in operation; The Good Shop has consolidated its two storefronts into one on German Street; recent and upcoming new businesses are Plum, R-Design and Consign, Encore, Full Circle Theater, and Azad Oriental Rug Emporium.

We are blessed with having a good location with its proximity to major cities, and without the major problems that come with bigness; we have nationally-respected Shepherd University; the Potomac River and the C&O Canal.

As with any other bountiful inheritance, we have been handed this firm foundation that is Shepherdstown. Yes, part of this solid base came by way of happenchance, but that base was built upon by people, by work and worry, frustration and failure, and the best stimulus of all-those who believed in the town and persistently struggled to maintain and improve.

The shame of some inheritors is once the world is in their hands, the variety of riches dwindle, the money gets spent, the beauty sold off. Rather than squandering what others have entrusted us with, we respect what has been inherited.

Shepherdstown is what it is because citizens have worked through the years to add another brick to the town’s foundation.

Spring Cleanup-

Here’s a low-cost stimulus with ample awards: our annual Spring Cleanup.

Town government’s portion of spring cleaning goes on during May 4-8. Public Works Department will take one pickup truck load per residence (details below).

But the town can’t help you if you don’t help the town. Here are a few actions you can take to help yourself and the town:

Pick up trash, not just on the main streets, but in the alleys as well.

Around trash cans

Remove posted signs when the yard sale or other event concludes.

Dispose of cigarette butts properly.

And, as always, give your dog a break and pick up its deposit – our sidewalks are not manure banks.