August 2021      

95th Edition              


I hope this finds you enjoying the summer weather and all the activities of this time of year. As you look at the crazy weather happening all around the Country we have been very lucky so far. Hopefully that luck has still held by the time you are reading this newsletter. Hurricane season is upon us and you never know what might happen when a storm moves ashore.

I always check the previous year’s Newsletter for each month to make sure I don’t miss some annual event to include in the current year’s letter. Doing so this year reminded me that we really didn’t have much to pass on in 2020. Things have improved some, but there are still some cancellations as well as many adjustments in how things will happen in the coming months.

One of the events that won’t be happening again this year is the Firemen’s Parade and Lawn Party that is usually held the first week of August. Without this annual fundraiser it will be important that we all show our support in some other manner. You might have received a request for a donation in the Mail recently. If you are able to do so, please donate what you can to support our Volunteer Fire Department. Hopefully you will never need them at your home or business, but it is always reassuring to know that they will be there if you ever do. Thank you to the members for their service to our community.

If the Barbequed Chicken during the Firemen’s Lawn Party was one of your favorites, you are in luck since they will still be doing that on Saturday, August 7th.  You can enjoy the delicious chicken that is prepared by VFW Post 2447. They always do a great job and you also can plan to enjoy even more chicken on Saturday, August 21st when the VFW does it again

Things are gearing up for another Route 11 Yard Crawl on August 13 & 14. Things get started in Edinburg on Friday, August 13th and will be in full swing on Saturday the 14th.  Since the Crawl didn’t happen last year everyone had time to gather up even more treasures for your consideration. Vendors will be setup at the Edinburg Mill and the front yard of the Mill House next door again this year and this will also be the place to come if you are looking for an official Yard Crawl T-shirt.

Smokin’ BBQ will be set up in the Mill’s parking lot during the Crawl for something to eat while shopping.  In addition to the bargains you might find in the parking lot, make sure to check out the Edinburg Mill Shops and all the unique items they sell every day all year long.  The Edinburg Mill Restaurant and Heritage Mill Wines will also be open if you need to take a moment to recover from the craziness of the Crawl. And don’t forget that the Mill Museum has the only Air Conditioned Rest Rooms you will probably find anywhere during the Yard Crawl. We know you probably won’t have time during the Crawl to take in all the Mill has to offer, but please plan on coming back when you have more time.

Speaking of the Mill, it has been chosen by the Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) to become a Certified Virginia Visitor Center. We heard about this back in 2020 and have been waiting patiently for it to become official. Travel restrictions for State employees postponed the VTC site visit until June of this year. Their visit was great and the Mill impressed the folks from Richmond. They did not expect to find anything like the Mill in our small town of Edinburg and spent a couple of hours checking everything out. We ended the visit with a delicious lunch at the Edinburg Mill Restaurant.

The next step is for the State to issue an official letter of the certification, which we are expecting any day. The Certification also allows the Mill to have additional signage as a Visitor Center on Interstate 81. These special Blue Signs should really increase the number of travelers coming in to Edinburg off I-81 and will benefit all of our local businesses. With the Edinburg Mill in the center, Shenandoah County will have three Certified Virginia Visitor Centers with Strasburg’s Hupp’s Hill to the north and New Market’s Museum of the Civil War at the southern end.

Attention all dog owners, Shenandoah County Parks and Recreation will be holding “Paws in the Pool” again this year on Saturday September 11th at the Edinburg Pool. The event will be held from 10:00 am until 2:00 pm and is always a fun time for our four legged friends and their owners. Even if you don’t have a furry friend of your own you can come out to see some Olympic level doggy paddling.

Past Newsletters mentioned the monthly meetings of the Mt. Jackson-Edinburg Rotary. They now meet at the Curtain Call Café in Mt. Jackson every Tuesday morning at 8:00 AM.  The meetings always feature an interesting program and speaker as well as an update of what is happening with the Mt. Jackson-Edinburg Rotary. Additional Rotary information is available at www.rotaryinternational.org

Work on the Wastewater Treatment Plant upgrade continues and the final design drawings are complete. These have been submitted to the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and USDA Rural Development for review. We expect the review to take a month or so to complete and hope to submit the application and receive the Certificate to Construct by September 30, 2021.

If this happens we will be on schedule to go out to bid in the fall and award the contract for the Plant’s construction by January 31, 2022. With that schedule we should be substantially complete and ready to make application to operate the upgraded plant by June 30, 2023. Completion and start-up of the new plant is scheduled for September 30, 2023.

We are anxiously awaiting the outcome of the Bids for this project. The high cost of building materials; along with the challenges facing all employers with staffing and availability of equipment are sure to push the project’s costs over what was estimated in the Preliminary Engineering Report completed back in January 2020. If this happens, we will look to Rural Development for additional funding that hopefully will come in the form of a grant.

Another source of funding for additional construction costs might be part of the money that the Town received from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). While we are still struggling with what this money can actually be spent on, we do know that water and sewer improvements do appear to be a permitted use. Additional Rural Development Grant will be our preferred solution to cost overruns; however it is reassuring to know that we have the ARPA money available if necessary.

Edinburg should ultimately receive $1,110,142 in ARPA funding. We have received the first half of $555,071 and should receive the second half in June 2022. As I said above, we have been told that these funds definitely can be used for water and sewer. We are also hoping that funding will be able to be used on things like the Town Park/Pool and the Rails to Trails project; things that improve health with outdoor activities that came to the forefront during the pandemic. We have placed the money in a money market account and will be taking our time determining what projects and programs it should be spent on. Federal guidelines are still coming out as everyone fine tunes how to get the most bang for the buck.

We have until December 31, 2024 to commit to what the funding will be used for and until December 31, 2026 to spend the money.

Council has approved one purchase from the ARPA funding that we are working with the towns of Toms Brook and Boyce on. This is the purchase of Radar Speed Signs. These are the signs that tell drivers how fast they are going compared to the posted speed limit. You have probably noticed this type of sign on Main Street at different times over the years.  Those signs belonged to VDOT and could only remain in place for a limited time.  In addition to slowing down drivers, the signs also compile information on the amount of traffic, time of the day when speeding might be greatest and what speeds occurred. All of this is helpful in knowing when and where we need to have more enforcement. Public Safety is a valid expense for the funding and is always a challenge for smaller communities like ours. By partnering with the two other small towns we will be able to get much better pricing on the signs.

You might have noticed another public safety change that has been installed lately on Stony Creek Blvd, Rumble Strips! Many of you will remember the two incidents that occurred a couple of years ago at the intersection with Main Street. Drivers either fell asleep, or were otherwise distracted, and drove through the intersection into the Wightman Insurance building. Luckily those inside the building were not harmed in either incident. We have been discussing various ways to protect the buildings across from the intersection. Any type of barrier in front of the buildings would remove valuable parking space. Hopefully the rumble strips will serve to warn drivers that they are approaching the intersection, and wake up anyone dozing off.

We all missed having the Ole Time Festival in 2020 and are so happy to hear that the 40th Festival is on for September 17, 18 and 19 this year. The Opening Ceremony will be Friday, the 17th, at 5:30 PM in St. John’s United Methodist Church on S. High Street. Stick around after the Opening for the Sing Along. Plan to start Saturday with a Pioneer Breakfast at the St. Paul’s Heritage Center. From there you can visit the crafters and more on the North End of Main Street near the Edinburg Renaissance B&B. As always, there will be additional crafters, food vendors, entertainment and demonstrations around the Edinburg Mill, in the old bank parking lot on Main St, in front of the Charter House School and all points in between.  The School will be the site of the Alkenback Live Steam Engines and make sure to checkout Dennis Clem from Fort Valley doing Blacksmithing Demonstrations at the Mill. There will be a number of Civil War related events including lectures at the Heritage Center and a living history demonstration at the Mill. The Wheelmen will be here riding their giant wheel bikes in the Parade on Saturday along with the 2nd Maryland Fifes and Drums, with both groups doing demonstrations throughout the day down at the Mill. Saturday evening will find everyone at a Party in the Town Park with 1752 BBQ and Beer Garden with Seven Bends Band providing the music. The Party is from 6:00 PM to 9:30 PM. There is so much more that will be happening that weekend; but no matter what you like to do, there is sure to be something at this year’s Ole Time Festival for you to enjoy.  

That’s it for now; see you around Town.
Your Mayor, Dan Harshman