ELKTON — Billie Jo Dofflemyer said it plainly — there are no lodging accommodations located within Elkton’s town limits.
The closest place a person can stay overnight when visiting the town is either the Elkton Motel or the Country View Lodging Motel, which are both closer to Shenandoah National Park’s Skyline Drive.
“There’s nowhere to stay in Elkton except the foot of the mountain,” Dofflemyer said.
It was for that reason Dofflemyer spoke in front of the town’s planning commission and town council to express support over a new lodging accommodation off Spotswood Trail.
During Thursday’s council work session, council members and commissioners held a joint public hearing on a proposed one-bedroom inn off the 15000 block of Old Spotswood Trail.
The hearing was scheduled to take place Monday, but council did not have a quorum and the hearing was recessed to Thursday.
The request comes from Stephen and Leah Napotnik, who are seeking to remodel Elkton’s former ice house from the 1800s into a livable cottage called the Bridge House Inn.
The Inn will be a one-bedroom accommodation with a full bath, kitchen, living room, cathedral ceiling, central heating and air, Wi-Fi and cable. The kitchen will be equipped with an induction cooktop, oven, fridge, freezer, microwave and bar.
A stay at the inn is projected to cost $79 a night, according to a town staff report, and can accommodate up to two guests.
Dofflemyer was one of two town residents who spoke in favor of the Bridge House Inn.
Dofflemyer said one of the reasons she supported the request was because the owners also manage the Elkton Brewing Company.
“The owners have brought a lot of business to town,” she said.
Laura Johnson, who lives near the former ice house, said she was excited to have the property renovated and for the town to have a place a visitor can stay within town limits.
Council member Heidi Zander said the proposal was a “great idea,” adding the town needs more housing with tourism increasing.
Council member Randell Snow also voiced support for the Bridge House Inn.
Council is expected to take action on the request during the next council meeting. Action will also be taken on amending town code to allow a motel, motel court, motor hotel, lodge or inn as a special exception.
Other items on Thursday’s agenda included approving leasing space at the Elkton Area Community Center to Strongfigure Bootcamp and accepting S. L. Williamson Co.’s bid for parking lot paving at EACC.
Town Manager Greg Lunsford told council members that a handful of groups were interested in renting out the former police department space at the EACC a few months ago, but only Strongfigure Bootcamp was interested as of this week.
“We’ve already had $10,000 gone from not renting the space already in the last five months,” he said.
To rent the space, it would cost $2,000 a month but council agreed to reduce the rent to a minimum of $1,000 for the first year Strongfigure Bootcamp is in the space.
Lunsford said the group had been renting space at the EACC since fall 2020 and has been established in Elkton since the summer.
“I think it would be worth giving them a shot,” he said.
Council approved the rental agreement and the EACC parking lot paving bid in a 4-0 vote. Council members Steve America and Jessica Moubray were absent.
Council was also provided a glimpse at the proposed fiscal year 2021-22 budget, which has increased by $10 million.
Lunsford said the finance committee met Thursday and while the budget is still in the preliminary stages, it is proposed as being $16.9 million. The FY20-21 approved budget was $6.9 million.
“For the fiscal year 2021-22, an estimated $10 million of work will take place to upgrade Elkton’s wastewater treatment plant,” Lunsford said in an email. “This is an anticipated amount and will be funded by previously secured grants and loans.”
Lunsford said by the end of 2022, the project should be completed or near completion.
“We are still finalizing the remainder of the budget, however we do not anticipate significant changes in regular operating or capital expenses,” he said.
Council is expected to have its first reading of the proposed budget during a work session in June.