Parks & Recreation Goal 1
Excellent park facilities and abundant recreational programs will be available to meet the needs of all residents of the community, regardless of age or physical ability.
1.1 Town – University Recreation Partnership
STRATEGY: Explore opportunities to partner with Shepherd University to allow residents of Shepherdstown to access on-campus recreational facilities and programs.
JUSTIFICATION: Community access to the recreational facilities and programs offered on the Shepherd University campus would allow the town to leverage these extensive facilities to provide recreational opportunities that would not otherwise be publicaly available in a town of its size. Access to facilities, such as the university’s pool, could also play a significant role in the health of the community given that low impact exercise opportunities, such as swimming or water aerobics, are frequently prescribed as part of physical therapy programs. The extensive facilities, in general, would provide more opportunities for a host of activities that would help local residents maintain a healthy lifestyle, particularly during winter months when the indoor facilities on campus could provide recreation opportunities that would not otherwise be feasible using outdoor facilities. Community access to campus recreational facilities will also provide more opportunities for social interaction between residents and university students, thereby helping to strengthen the relationship between the town and the university.
1.2 Develop a Parks and Recreation Master Plan
STRATEGY: Prepare and implement a parks and recreation master plan to identify community needs for park facilities and recreational programs.
JUSTIFICATION: A parks and recreation plan that is based on detailed surveys of the needs of the community and extensive public involvement will help the town to determine the needed investments in its park and recreation infrastructure and programs. This will allow the town to identify goals for land acquisition and the construction of facilities to meet the needs identified in the plan and develop funding sources to finance the desired infrastructure. Without a clear plan in place, limited resources can be mismatched with the needs and desires of the community, and potentially lead to the development of facilities that will see little use. Having a plan in place can also assist with grant funding from outside sources to fill gaps in local funding, if clear needs are demonstrated in the plan.
1.3 Formally Establish Morgan’s Grove as a Public Park
STRATEGY: Work with the Jefferson County Parks and Recreation Commission, the Shepherdstown Community Club and other local sports and community groups to permanently establish Morgan’s Grove as a public park.
JUSTIFICATION: Morgan’s Grove Park, which is located outside of the town’s corporate limits, plays a major role in providing community access to outdoor recreation opportunities in the local area. The park is currently operated by Jefferson County under a lease agreement with the Shepherdstown Community Club, who owns the site. Transitioning this arrangement in the future to public ownership of the park would allow for a greater investment of public funds to improve the property, and open up more opportunities for grant funding.
1.4 Improve Princess Street River Access
STRATEGY: Develop and implement a plan to make better use of the Town’s Potomac River access on Princess Street as a public park facility, including accessibility upgrades and dedicated funding for maintenance and upkeep of the access.
JUSTIFICATION: The town-owned river access and park at the foot of Princess Street is a unique and vitally important asset in the town’s park and recreation portfolio. Improving this area to provide better accommodation to paddlesports participants, as well as generally improving the appearance and functionality of the property for passive public recreation opportunities will provide the town and its residents with a significant multiplier effect in terms of quality of life compared to the investments that would be required to improve the property. The Potomac River is a key element in the historic and cultural legacy of the community, and providing enhanced access to this unique and vital asset will help the entire community to embrace its heritage and enjoy the beauty of the river.