Film crews back in town next week
Town Council held a special meeting on Friday to discuss a one hour follow up show to the “Ghosts of Shepherdstown” docu-drama mini series, with 3-day filming to begin in Shepherdstown on Sept. 5.
Mayor Auxer led the council into executive session with town attorney, Chazz Printz to discuss the contract between Destination America and Shepherdstown Corporation.
The council then opened the floor for public comment about the show, encouraging attendees to voice their opinions either for or against the proposed filming.
Bob Mitchell, local resident, expressed concern that the meeting was called on short notice and took place on a Friday morning.
Mayor Auxer replied that due to time constraints put in place by Destination America, Council had to call a meeting fairly quickly, but did give the two day notice required by law.
He went on to say that notice was given on the website for the corporation of Shepherdstown, as well as their Facebook page, and notice was posted to the window of Town Hall. Auxer also said that a quorum was needed so scheduling as quickly as possible, while making sure all council members were available was key.
Attendees had a favorable view of the show overall, saying the town has greatly benefited from an increase in tourism directly related to the series.
Lillian Potter-Saum, owner of the Local Source shop said, “When I saw the first two episodes, I thought it was the hokiest thing in the world, but over all I liked it. I loved seeing my town on TV–who wouldn’t? The aerial shots were beautiful. I am just wondering if this follow-up show is going to be historically based?”
Council members replied that the shows which previously aired were based on true stories and calls that were received by the police department, but of course dramatization had to be included for television purposes.
Police Chief Mike King said he’s seen a positive impact on the town.
“Tourists have come to town and have come into my office to speak with me about the show,” said King. “Something that is consistent with all them is that they love Shepherdstown. They may have come to town because of the show, but they will come back because of the charm and beauty of the town itself.”
Dana Mitchell who was billed as a town historian in the series, leads the Shepherdstown Mysteries walks April through November in town.
“My business has increased by something like, 300 percent,” said Mitchell. “For a while I was doing private tours every day.”
The Visitors Center’s Jan Hafer and Marianne Davis echoed these sentiments.
“People came to the Visitors Center to ask questions about the town and the show,” said Davis. “They loved Shepherdstown. They eat in our restaurants, shop in the local stores and go on Dana’s (Mitchell) walks. The overwhelming majority say they will come back because they love Shepherdstown.”
After public comment, council approved the contract for the film crews to begin next week.
The Destination America show will be aired in October, in time for Halloween, and has hinted at a possible series sequel in the future.