Parks & Recreation Goal 3
Parks will be located throughout the community in a manner that ensures accessibility for all residents.
3.1 Require Recreational Space in New DevelopmentParks will be located throughout the community in a manner that ensures accessibility for all residents.
STRATEGY: Continue to require the development of active and passive recreation spaces in conjunction with the residential development.
JUSTIFICATION: Requiring the inclusion of both passive and active open spaces for recreational purposes in conjunction with new development will help to support the town’s needs for public parks with only limited investments (perhaps ongoing maintenance) in acquiring or developing new park properties. Requiring their inclusion within new developments also supports the town’s goal of locating parks in close proximity to residents and promoting easy access to park facilities.
3.2 Develop Additional Neighborhood Parks
STRATEGY: Work with Jefferson County and other stakeholders in the community to identify and acquire strategically located properties to develop parks and other recreational amenities for both active and passive recreation so that such facilities are located within 1/8 to 1/4 mile of each home in the greater Shepherdstown area.
JUSTIFICATION: Closely spaced neighborhood parks located in close proximity to residences helps to support a high quality of life. Developing these facilities within a short walk or bike ride of their primary users also promotes more frequent outdoor recreation activity, particularly among children who may not have the ability to travel greater distances on their own to visit a larger community or regional park facility. Locating these facilities in neighborhoods also helps to guarantee their safety by increasing their visibility and limiting opportunities for casual criminal activity, like loitering or vandalism, which can plague parks located in more remote locations.
3.3 Improve Bike and Pedestrian Connections Between Parks and Neighborhoods
STRATEGY: Develop and implement a plan to connect all parks in the area so that they are in convenient walking and bicycling distance from residential neighborhoods, and develop a signage system to identify the locations of parks and preferred walking and biking routes to access them.
JUSTIFICATION: Establishing safe and efficient connections between neighborhoods and parks will help to ensure that they are accessible to residents of all ages, particularly young residents and older residents who may not have access to vehicular transportation or the ability to drive. Encouraging walking or biking to parks also limits the need to provide onsite parking, thereby making more of park land available for recreational activities.
3.4 Partner with Shepherd University to Develop the Proposed River Overlook
STRATEGY: Partner with Shepherd University to develop the planned river overlook park area on the campus adjacent to the Potomac and work to ensure public access to the overlook park.
JUSTIFICATION: The overlook park proposed in the recently completed Shepherd University Master Plan provides a significant opportunity to develop a unique and valuable facility that would provide the public with a signature feature along the river. Given that much of the land along the river is privately owned, or otherwise inaccessible, a facility along the river close to downtown would help to better connect the community to this important aspect of its cultural and natural heritage. If the town were to partner with the university in the development of the site, which would come after the demolition of the residence hall that currently occupies the site, then it may be able to leverage its participation to secure the overlook and adjacent proposed terraced amphitheater for community events. This would serve as an excellent location for concerts or other community events, particularly during summer months when there is less activity on the campus.
3.5 Develop Connections Between Park Facilities on the River
STRATEGY: Explore opportunities to provide more direct pedestrian connections between the planned Shepherd University river overlook park, the town’s river access on Princess Street and the Rumsey Monument.
JUSTIFICATION: Connecting the proposed overlook park on the Shepherd University campus to the Princess Street river access and park, and finally the Rumsey Monument and Cullison Park with a walking trail would provide a unique recreational opportunity for residents and give tourists better access to these three important sites along the river without having to make individual trips to each site. Connecting these sites would also help to reinforce the town’s identity as a river town, which has been somewhat diminished by the limited access opportunities that now exist on the West Virginia bank of the river. It is recognized that a trail linking the sites would necessarily have to cross private property, and the support of the owners of those properties that a trail might cross would be critical to the development of this proposed connection.