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Men's club divided on park transfer idea

September 09, 2004|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - Members of the Shepherdstown Men's Club will be given the opportunity next Wednesday to vote on a controversial proposal to transfer ownership of Morgan's Grove Park from the club to Jefferson County government.

Shepherdstown Men's Club President Ethelmary "Etts" Elliott said she believes the park should be turned over to the county because the club cannot afford to maintain the park and the organization is unsure of what it will do with the park in the future.

Some members of the community are concerned about the proposal, especially in light of comments from county parks officials who complain about not having enough money to run the parks they currently oversee.

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Morgan's Grove Park is a popular 21-acre facility southwest of Shepherdstown at the intersection of W.Va. 480 and Morgan Grove Road. The park has soccer fields, a kitchen facility, a baseball backstop and other features.

The Shepherdstown Men's Club has owned the park since 1961.

Club members will meet at 7:30 p.m. next Wednesday to consider the park transfer proposal, Elliott said.

The club was scheduled to consider the matter Wednesday but the meeting was pushed back, club members said.

Next week's meeting will be held at the War Memorial Building - which the club also owns - at the corner of King and German streets.

Members of the Shepherdstown Men's Club will be given two minutes each to speak on the proposal, Elliott said.

The vote on whether to transfer ownership of the park will take place at 8:45 p.m., club officials said.

To allow for the transfer of ownership of the park, at least two-thirds of the club members who attend next Wednesday's meeting must vote for it, said Joel Garner, secretary of the Men's Club.

Several provisions also must be met for the transfer to take place, Garner said.

One provision is that the Jefferson County Commission purchase 11 acres beside the park from owner Gene Henry for $1 million, Garner said.

Another provision is that the park and Henry's land must always remain parkland if it is turned over to the county, Garner said.

Garner opposes the transfer proposal.

If the park is transferred to the county, Garner said he fears it will turn people against the Shepherdstown Men's Club and reduce the number of people willing to join the organization.

Running Morgan's Grove Park is the "heart and soul" of the club, Garner said.

Elliott said Wednesday that the Men's Club has a difficult enough time managing the War Memorial Building, let alone taking care of Morgan's Grove Park.

Liability insurance for the park costs the club more than $2,000 a year, Elliott said.

Henry wants $1 million for the 11 acres he owns next to the park.

At least two of the Jefferson County Commissioners have expressed opposition to paying that much money for the land.

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