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Town council discusses website redesign, opening of farmer’s market

By Tabitha Johnston - Chronicle Staff | Mar 19, 2021

SHEPHERDSTOWN — The monthly meeting of the Shepherdstown Town Council was held on March 9, during which a number of updates were discussed, including the opening of the Shepherdstown Farmer’s Market and status of the town’s website redesign.

According to town council member Jim Ford, the redesign of the town’s website, while necessary, may take longer than expected due to financial limitations.

“Not much progress has been made towards the website,” Ford said, mentioning the town council will need to find the funds for the redesign, if they want to move forward with it. “It’ll turn out to be a $10,000 thing, to update the website. I don’t know if we have room for that in the budget. Right now, it looks like to a tough thing to do, where the budget stands.”

Council member Chris Stroech, as chair of the town’s Grant Committee, said he will look into possible grant funding for the redesign. Stroech also commented on work the Grant Committee has been doing, to help town residents survive financially throughout the rest of the pandemic.

“It’s clear that there is a need,” Stroech said of the individuals and businesses in town who have asked for help.

The committee, Stroech said, plans on applying for $72,000 in grant money that would be available to use for covering local residents’ basic needs, such as food and utilities.

The town council unanimously approved the 2021- 2022 Budget Levy Estimate for WV State Auditor’s Office, along with contributing $1,500 for the second year in a row to the Jefferson County Historic District Landmarks Commission Endowment Fund.

“The $1,500 was given last year to help increase tourism in Jefferson County,” Mayor Jim Auxer said. “Because we are in a historic district, like Charles Town, I think it’s incumbent on us to make a contribution.”

The final major update of the evening, was the unanimous approval of Shepherdstown Farmer’s Market President Natalie Friend’s request for the market to reopen behind the Shepherdstown Public Library building along King Street. The market will begin being held every Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., beginning on March 28. COVID-19 safety practices will be once again be enforced, similar to last year’s outdoor market. The one definite change from last year will be the allowance of instrumental music again at the market, without vocals.

“We don’t want to let our guard down, so we shouldn’t change anything,” Auxer said. “I think we should go back to the same protocol — the masks and going up and down [the street] the same. The COVID restrictions will have to be followed.”

Auxer added, in the Mayor’s Report, that the Corporation of Shepherdstown has installed two LED streetlights so far in town.

“The LED streetlights are currently being tested out — one along German Street’s dark corner and another near Sage Place,” Auxer said. “I’m trying to get some feedback, so we can get some information to take back to Public Works on how to move forward with that.”