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Riverfront partnership issues final report

By Staff | Jun 24, 2011

The Riverfront Revitalization Partnership presented its final report to the Shepherdstown Town Council last week.

The report detailed the findings of the Riverfront Revitalization Partnership’s work in cooperation with the National Park Service Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program.

Following the partnership’s public meeting in April, the committee was given a June deadline for its final report to the council.

In a statement to town council, Mayor Jim Auxer asked each council member to review the report and consider moving forward with any aspects they find will “enhance our riverfront.”

“The time has come to focus on preserving, maintaining and improving our riverfront area,” he said.

On Tuesday the Mayor explained that he plans to ask the town council for their feedback at the meeting in July and move forward based on their input.

He pointed to smaller projects listed in the report as tasks that can be easily accomplished by the town government.

“We’ll see what happens,” Auxer said.

According to the report, some potential “early success” projects include the continued stabilization of the Mecklenburg Warehouse; installation of interpretive, educational and directional signage in multiple locations along the riverfront; removal of invasive and noxious vegetation; the restoration of the limestone wall in Rumsey Park; and various other smaller scale projects.

Bill Howard, co-chair of the access committee, said that report demonstrates the partnership’s support for continued public input.

“Our committee’s principle recommendation called for an effective method of outreach to the community, including focus groups and surveys,” he said.

According to the report, the members of the RRP also recommend “convening a series of focus groups or charettes under the guidance of a professional facilitator to sharpen the understanding and support of the residents and stakeholders on meritorious ideas.”

Lois Turco, head of the patnership’s communications wok group, said that she felt there may have been some misunderstanding among community members about the nature of partnership’s work, which she described as a “research project.”

“Our intent was to get research done, get a vision and present it to the town,” she said.

She added, “The town has to really decide which projects they want to embrace.”

Dave Humphreys, project coordinator, said that he looked forward to seeing which projects the town will move ahaead with.

“I’m excited to see what’s next,” he said.

Humphreys also said that he was happy with the final report and especially glad that the partnership was able to intergrate efforts made in the past to improve sites along the riverfront with the new ideas dveloped by the partnership.

John Loeffler, connections committee co-chair, also said that he was impressed with the work that has already been done for many years to “help the town capitilze on its specialness.”

Loefffler said he is also hopeful that the town will continue to working toward improvements for the river front.

“Our interactions with Mayor Auxer and the town council during the process give hope that they will take the leadership in energizing the Shepherdstown’s local community to make the most of our unique, historical resources. In the end, a riverfront is a terible thing to waste,” he said.

The report will be made available via the Corporation of Shepherdstown’s website, www.shepherdstown.us, and is available at www.ourwaterfront.org. You can also view a PDF version at www.shepherdstownchronicle.com.

A copy was also made available for members of the public who may have an interest at the Shepherdstown Visitor’s Center.