On March 19, a group of citizens calling themselves Visitable Shepherdstown will host a meeting to share information on the ability to navigate in town. Kudos to this group for taking a serious look at the inaccessibility of many of the businesses in town.
Many businesses are not ADA-friendly which makes it difficult or impossible for someone with a handicap to shop there. In addition to not being “welcoming,” this is a potential cost of revenue for many. Customers who can’t access the shop can’t spend their dollars. The business loses, the shopper loses and the town loses.
Add to the difficulty of entering many shops and eateries the uneven sidewalks that dominate Shepherdstown and the inaccessibility expands to an even greater level. Oftentimes walking on these paths is difficult for someone who is not impaired in any way but add a cast, a wheelchair or a younger or older person and the sidewalks not only lead to nowhere, they may cause accidents.
Hopefully this group will offer some constructive ways to address the issues of access to shops but even before that, to address what the town can do about the sidewalks that are uneven, bumpy or nonexistent.
The safety of the residents could depend upon addressing the issue and financial gain could be had for business owners and the town through tax revenue as more shoppers bring more dollars.
Head out to the meeting at the Train Station at 7 p.m. All input and ideas are needed to make the town safe and navigable for all.