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Shepherdstown to bid on Grist Mill

By Staff | May 12, 2017

After a 30 minute executive session at Tuesday’s Town Council meeting, council members voted to move to bid on the public auction of the historic Thomas Shepherd Grist Mill next Tuesday, May 16, at 1 p.m. at the Jefferson County Courthouse.

Council members were not able to disclose an amount of money that is available for the bid.

“It is the most important building in Shepherdstown,” said Mayor, Jim Auxer. “It is the cornerstone of Shepherdstown and the town wouldn’t be here without it.”

The mill, located on 207 E. High St., is a limestone mill built between 1734 and 1739 by Thomas Shepherd, the founder of Shepherdstown. In approximately 1835, a wooden third story was added. Sometime in the 19th century, a huge overshot wheel of 12 tons and 40 feet in diameter was built. It had been on the market for $1.2 million, then $750 thousand dollars before going into foreclosure. Public auction sale of the Mill had been postponed from March of this year providing time to do an inventory and appraisal of the property.

If the corporation of Shepherdstown should happen to “win” the bid, it has not yet been determined what will become of the property, although the main goal is to preserve the historic integrity and to be able to repay some of the individuals who had loaned money to the mill’s late owner, Patrinka Kelch in exchange for being named heirs in the will. These claimants and other financial institutions have claims against the property totally approximately $900 thousand dollars, according to Sheriff Pete Dougherty, who was appointed executor of the Kelch’s estate last year.

Mayor Auxer said that most of the residents he’s heard from have responded positively to the town’s potential acquisition of the Grist Mill property.

Other items from Town Council included a final reading and approval of the Bond Ordinance authorizing the issuance of up to $3.5 million to finance improvements to the waterworks system, including the acquisition and installation of a new 12-inch high dedicated service water line to Shepherdstown’s two water storage tanks. This money is coming from the Water Revenue Bonds.

Additionally, there were second readings of amendments to two ordinances regarding the Historic Landmarks Commission concerning Certificates of Appropriateness and the Planning Commission issuance of project permits to help streamline the permit and building processes in town. Both amendments were approved.

To view town ordinances, visit http://bit.ly/2pxBWFF.