Warehouse eyed for project
The riverfront revitalization team met with members of the Friends of the Shepherdstown Riverfront group and Mayor Jim Auxer Monday at the Shepherdstown Train Station to discuss working together to achieve revitalization goals.
The revitalization team once again discussed the “low-hanging fruit,” or achievable short-term goals they hope to accomplish prior to losing the assistance of the National Park Service this September.
Chris Nieowld, of the NPS Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance program, led the meeting, which also included a small group of residents.
Niewold engaged both the mayor and FOSR executive committee member Keith Alexander who offered ideas for specific projects to move forward with.
“I think it’d be good if we take something and hammer on it,” Auxer said.
He suggested concentrating on the renovation of the Mecklenburg Tobacco Warehouse as a starting point in the overall revitalization project.
Niewold said the warehouse renovation is a project that the FOSR, a nonprofit group, has been working on for some time now.
He explained that the warehouse is the last town-owned, free-standing structure along the riverfront that, once renovated, is likely viable for commercial use.
Monday the groups discussed a variety of possible uses for the warehouse and the projected cost of making both major and minor renovations to the space.
Alexander said the FOSR have yet to fund the project but is working to “bridge the gap” between ideas and a fully developed plan.
He explained that the group also has yet to utilize the full function of its relationship with the town council, which acts as a joint sponsor for the FOSR project.
The revitalization team also discussed its desire to work in official cooperation with the Corporation of Shepherdstown.
Committee member William Howard described the importance of the group establishing an official presence as a “blue ribbon group,” recognized by the town council and granted permission to use the official town seal, letterhead and website.
Mayor Auxer agreed to add the group’s request to the town council agenda, and Dave Humphries, project coordinator, and Howard gave the update for the group at town council meeting Tuesday, explaining the group needed a more efficient way to reach out to the community. They requested use of the town website and town letterhead for that purpose.
“In order for riverfront revitalization project to be successful, we need a mandate from town with town’s endorsement,” Howard said. “We’re on verge of losing momentum and spoiling lots of hours of volunteer time.”
The council unanimously approved the riverfront team’s request.
The date for next riverfront meeting has yet to be set but will be posted on the Corporation of Shepherdstown homepage once confirmed. The meeting will be open to the public.