Parks & Recreation Goal 2
Shepherdstown will be known as a community that embraces an active and healthy lifestyle built around outdoor recreation.
2.1 Increase Promotion of Local Outdoor Recreation Opportunities
STRATEGY: Work with tourism officials to promote the availability of outdoor recreational opportunities in the area as part of Shepherdstown’s tourism marketing plan.
JUSTIFICATION: The wealth of outdoor recreation opportunities that are available in the local area give Shepherdstown a significant opportunity to promote itself as a destination for outdoor recreation. This growing segment of the tourism economy is a natural fit for the community given its location on the Potomac River and the nearby C&O Canal Trail. With easy access to these assets, Shepherdstown can capitalize on its location to attract paddlesports enthusiasts, hikers and bicyclists to the town. This in turn can have a significant effect on the local economy, and simultaneously serve as an attractant for outdoor recreation enthusiasts looking to relocate to an area that has these types of assets.
2.2 Coordinate Promotion of the C&O Canal Towpath Trail
STRATEGY: Continue to work with the National Park Service and the Canal Towns Partnership to identify opportunities to promote Shepherdstown to hikers and bicyclists traveling along the C&O Canal Towpath trail.
JUSTIFICATION: The partnership that has been established by communities along the C&O Canal offers an excellent opportunity for the town to participate in a coordinated marketing effort to attract outdoor recreation tourism. By leveraging he resources of the partnership, the town can multiply its investments in the partnership through the economies of scale that are created by the pooling of resources and coordination that takes place between the members of the organization.
2.3 Utilize the Tobacco Warehouse as a Paddlesports Support Facility
STRATEGY: Establish a public-private partnership to renovate and utilize the Tobacco Warehouse on Princess Street for a community oriented paddlesports facility.
JUSTIFICATION: The tobacco warehouse near the foot of Princess Street provides the community with an excellent opportunity to leverage its location adjacent to the Potomac River and utilize the building as an outfitter’s facility for paddlesports. Working with a nonprofit organization or business to establish the facility would allow the town to maximize the value of this asset while minimizing the necessary investment by the town in the facility. This type of facility would serve a s a regional destination for casual paddlesports participants, tourists interested in a short float on the river, and could even serve as the base of operations for local paddlesports club, providing storage, maintenance and office space for the organization and its members.
2.4 Develop a Community Health and Wellness Program
STRATEGY: Work with local health and wellness agencies to adopt and implement a community-wide plan to improve health and increase physical activity.
JUSTIFICATION: A community based approach to improving community health and encouraging active and healthy lifestyles could provide the town and its residents with a wide range of benefits. Chief among the benefits of this type of effort is increased awareness of the value of exercise, good nutrition and other factors that contribute to healthy outcomes. This type of program can help to build greater support in the community for additional parks, increase demand for recreational programs, promote walking and biking as alternatives to automobile transportation and heighten interest in locally grown agricultural products that support healthy eating.
2.5 Provide Community Access to Shepherd University Outdoor Recreation Activities
STRATEGY: Explore opportunities for the town to partner with Shepherd University to allow residents to participate in outdoor recreation clubs and similar campus groups.
JUSTIFICATION: Participation by local residents in on-campus clubs and groups that engage in outdoor recreation activities could provide the community with access to a greater variety of activities. Partnering with the university to allow residents to join these organizations would promote more social interaction between residents and students, and give residents with experience in outdoor activities to serve as mentors to these groups.
2.6 Bring Paddlesports Events to Town
STRATEGY: Explore opportunities to partner with paddlesports oriented organizations to hold events on the Potomac that would use Shepherdstown as the starting or ending point of the events.
JUSTIFICATION: Leveraging its location on the Potomac River to attract paddlesports events to Shepherdstown’s stretch of the river the town could attract a significant amount of additional outdoor recreation tourism to the community. Working with paddlesports organizations to map a course that would allow the town to serve as either the starting or ending point for races or similar events would help increase the prominence of the town in the regional paddlesports community, which could then lead to repeat visits from event participants who might return for recreational visits to the local stretch of the river.
2.7 Improve Accommodations for Bicycle Tourism
STRATEGY: Encourage local lodging establishments to provide enhanced accommodations for long distance bicyclists traveling through the area.
JUSTIFICATION: If the number and types of accommodations for bicycle tourists in the community was expanded, the town could benefit from an increase in the choice of bike tourists on the C&O Canal Towpath to overnight in Shepherdstown. Improved accommodations could include dedicated indoor storage space for bicycles in lodging establishments, setting aside ground floor rooms for bicycle tourists, offering shuttle service, or even onsite bike repair stations.
2.8 Provide a Public Bike Repair Station
STRATEGY: Establish a public bike repair and maintenance station in downtown Shepherdstown.
JUSTIFICATION: Installing a public bike repair station in the downtown area will help to demonstrate the community’s support for bicycling. These types of facilities, perhaps coupled with a nearby vending machine that dispense common replacement parts, help to support the needs of both local bicyclists as well as tourists travelling by bicycle. If located near, and perhaps sponsored by, a local bicycle shop, this could generate additional business for more complex repairs than can be accomplished by a casual rider.