HARPERS FERRY, W.Va. (WDVM) — There’s been a changing of the guard at the town hall in Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia. There’s a new mayor with a new outlook for the historic locale.
It’s an exciting new chapter for this historic, charming town in West Virginia. He’s not from here. Most recently he was assigned to Georgia as a federal government law enforcement officer. But when his wife’s family made available their ancestral home here, why not move in and, of course, run for mayor?
“We have gone through some very difficult times in the past couple years. We’ve had some very divisive issues, doing some damage, I think to the integrity of Harpers Ferry,” Mayor Gregory Vaughn said.
Vaughn is referring to a disputed town council election that was challenged in lawsuits going all the way to the West Virginia Supreme Court. When Vaughn talks about division in the town, he is also talking about “the hotel. The Hilltop Hotel.”
“It’s been in a dilapidated condition since 2008. The owners of that have come forward with a project design,” Vaughn said.
Vaughn’s predecessor opposed the project, but Mayor Vaughn sees it as an asset for Harpers Ferry and is getting the town council to join him in backing the Hilltop House. Vaughn is also making infrastructure a priority, paving the streets to accommodate all the visitors to the popular tourist destination.
“They [tourists] spend their money for Harpers Ferry and Jefferson County and West Virginia,” Vaughn said. “They’re doing their part. I don’t believe we’re doing our part to make it a safer, more rewarding experience for them.”
Mayor Vaughn is reaching out to Jefferson County for help with that. He will preside over his first town council meeting on Monday.
In the recent election only one of the town’s council members was returned to office, Christian Pechuekonis.