Site Navigation Page Content Search Footer

Public Input Survey

Residents of all ages were invited to complete a survey to provide input into helping make Shepherdstown a great place to live and work in the future. A total of 327 people participated in the survey including 325 online submissions and 2 hardcopy submissions. The survey covered four demographic questions and twelve discussion questions. The responses to these questions were utilized throughout the development of the plan recommendations. A summary of the responses to each question are listed below as submitted by the survey participants.

Questions 1 and 2: Demographics

The age of the participants in the survey trended toward an older demographic, with nearly a simple majority of the responses coming from residents between the ages of 41 and 65. In total, 95% of the responses were received from residents over the age of 25. Interestingly, a slighlty larger share of the responses were received from presons residing outside of the corporate limits, but given the small size of Shepherdstown’s population, the rate of participation from residents of the corporation was significant.

Figure 1 - Age
Figure 1 - Age
Figure 2 - Residence Location
Figure 2 - Residence Location

Questions 3 and 4: Demographics

Over half of the paticipants work either within the town or suroundding area, or are retired. Nearly one-third of the participants work outside of the local area, while fewer than 5% indicated that theywere students at Shepherd University. The length of time that survey participants have lived in Shepherdstown is distributed fairly evenly, but with a slightly larger share of long time residents (20+ years) participating than the other groups. Also, participation was divided nearly evenly between participants who have lived in Shepherdstown more than 10 years or fewer than 10 years.

Figure 3 - Work Location
Figure 3 - Work Location
Figure 4 - Years a Resident
Figure 4 - Years a Resident


Question 5: Annexation

Survey Question: The Corporation of Shepherdstown provides a wide range of municipal services and benefits to residents and businesses within its corporate limits. Should the Town pursue the expansion of these services, and the benefits of residing within the corporate limits of Shepherdstown, throughout a larger portion of the greater Shepherdstown area? Do you think that this would have a positive or negative impact on current residents of Shepherdstown?

When asked about the possibility of Town services being expanded to a larger portion of the greater Shepherdstown area, more participants responded favorably than unfavorably to the question. There were a substantial number of responses that were not sure or responded without a definitive answer, indicating a need to better inform the public about annexation.

The responses received to this question demonstrates that there is not a signficant degree of distinction between place of residence, either inside or outside of town, and whether the respondent appeared to be in favor of or opposed to annexation, though slighlty more of the respondents from outside of town appeared to have a positive view of annexation than participants who live inside of town. Most notable was the number of in-town residents who appeared to lack enough information to give a response favorably or unfavorably.

Table 1 - Annexation / Growth
Answered Question 209
Skipped Question 115
  Yes No Not Sure No Definitive Answer
Greater Shepherdstown Area 53 26 13 5
Inside Shepherdstown Corporate Limits 46 18 21 9
On the Shepherd University Campus 1 0 0 0
Other 5 5 0 2
Blank (Did not specify residence) 3 0 0 2
Total 108 49 34 18
Figure 5 - Comparison of Responses by Place of Residence
Figure 5 - Comparison of Responses by Place of Residence


Question 6: Downtown Shepherdstown

Survey Question: Downtown Shepherdstown is a cornerstone of the community, serving as a hub for social, cultural and economic activity in town. What do you see as being the most important assets to protect in the downtown area to ensure its viability and sustainability? What types of investments could be made to help improve downtown?

Question 7: Shepherd University

Survey Question: A significant number of opportunities are created by the physical, social and economic links between the Town and Shepherd University. What assets do the Town and University have that can be leveraged to enhance the quality of life for both residents and students? How do you perceive the current relationship between the Town and University, and how could that relationship change or evolve to better serve the needs of each entity?

Question 8: The Potomac River

Survey Question: The Potomac River is a key foundation of the Town’s origins and history, but over time development has moved away from the river, with the Town essentially turning its back to the Potomac as its economic importance declined. How, and where, can the Town take better advantage of its location on the Potomac to enhance the quality of life for residents and the experience of visitors to Shepherdstown?

Question 9: Cultural Assets

Survey Question: Shepherdstown has a diverse base of cultural resources, with significant artistic, historic and architectural assets that enhance the livability and attractiveness of the Town. Of these assets, which do you feel are most critical to the long term success of the Town? What is missing from the cultural experience in Shepherdstown?

Question 10: Community Services

Survey Question: The Corporation of Shepherdstown strives to provide its residents and businesses with high quality and efficient services. Are there any services that are not currently provided by the Town that it should offer to the community? Are there any services that the Town currently offers that would benefit from improvements and what would those improvements be?

Question 11: Natural Resources

Survey Question: The natural environment plays a significant role in the attractiveness of Shepherdstown and the surrounding region as a destination for both residents and tourists. What are the most significant natural and environmental resources in the area, and what role should the Town play in helping to preserve and protect these critical assets?

Question 12: Economic Development

Survey Question: In recent years, education, tourism and the arts have played significant roles in the local economy, driving much of the economic growth in Town. What economic sectors might the town want to pursue if it were looking to diversify its economy? What role should the Town play in supporting economic development, such as through business retention efforts, incentives for new or expanding businesses or similar efforts?

Question 13: Housing

Survey Question: Shepherdstown has a large stock of single family dwellings in its historic neighborhoods, and a large amount of group housing for students on the campus of Shepherd University, but little diversity in the overall housing supply. Is there any demand in the market for the Town to expand and diversify its housing stock? Which areas of Town (or outside of Town) might be most appropriate to accommodate new types of housing, and what types of housing development should the town seek to accommodate?

Question 14: Transportation

Survey Question: The ability to move safely around town by automobile, bicycle or as a pedestrian is a key factor in the attractiveness of the community and its long term sustainability. What are the most important improvements that can be made to enhance the safety or functionality of the local street, walkway and bikeway systems? Which areas outside of Town, if any, should be connected to the Town with a trail system?

Question 15: Shepherdstown’s Future

Survey Question: Imagine that it is 20 years from today and all of your ideas for improving Shepherdstown have been successfully implemented. What is the Town like in this ideal future? What is the most important idea that you contributed to help Shepherdstown grow into a more livable and prosperous community?
The following list represents the main themes that were most frequently cited in response to this question:

Overall, responses were very positive about the future of the town.