Rumsey lights vote on hold
In a move designed to allow for more public comment, the Shepherdstown Parks and Recreation Committee postponed a vote on a proposal to illuminate the Rumsey Monument certain hours of the evening. Committee member David Miljour’s motion to postpone a vote to recommend the matter to the Town Council carries a significant caveat: the committee must give an up or down vote on this issue at their next regular meeting on July 26.
“We have to poo or get off the pot,” said Miljour during the meeting at Town Hall on Thursday evening. Miljour’s comments were underscored by committee member John Meeker, who himself lives near Rumsey Park. He feared that if the committee did not act on the matter quickly, suspicion could develop among the public that the government was weathering criticism of the proposal only to pass it when media attention had died down.
Committee member Lou Tiano, early on in the debate over the issue, said he was bothered by the fact that only five people had filed comments with Town Hall on the matter. He also noted that those emails have overwhelmingly been against the proposal saying “we’ve only had, what, four or five emails out of the entire town? Personally that’s not much feedback.”
The move to postpone the vote followed two calls by Mayor Jim Auxer for a motion to forward the matter to the Town Council for a final vote. Both times, Miljour objected, saying that, while a decision needs to be made soon more time was needed to receive public comment. Miljour’s motion to postpone the vote, requiring a decision at their next regular meeting, was carried unanimously.
After the meeting, Miljour, who lives outside of Shepherdstown on River Road, said that he supports of the proposal to illuminate the monument, which he said had been neglected over the years. “Lighting the area is an advertisement for Shepherdstown and West Virginia. It brings attention to a significant opportunity here.”
Mill Street resident Mark Wirt said that while people were excited about the newfound interest in the park “there’s a lot of negatives too, the degradation of the environment, the danger to migratory birds.” He also questioned the claim that lighting would help reduce instances of graffiti at the park. “Improve the park in way that won’t bother the neighbors,” said Wirt. stressing that other improvements to the park should take higher priority than lighting the monument.