Tourist info lacking in town, says mayor

by Geoff Fox

As tourists travel the interstates or come to town for the outdoor recreation, there isn’t much literature letting them know about Hancock and what it has to offer.

During a special town meeting on July 26, Mayor Tim Smith said other towns have good information centers but not so in Hancock.

Smith said he, along with a member of the Historical Society and Town Advisor Bill Valentine, had a meeting with state and county tourism officials.

“It looks like that they let us identify what we thought the problems were and they’re going to help us,” Smith said.

There is a pamphlet available for the town, but Smith said when people pick it up but it’s old.

Smith said the pamphlet contains inaccurate information, including a picture of the old pool in Widmeyer Park.

The question to the town was what the pamphlet should contain. Smith said it should include information about the bed and breakfasts, restaurants, and recreation spots.

Smith said there are people who have ridden the trails and do not know there’s camping in Joseph Hancock Park and access to grills there.

Picnic table and camping space in Joseph Hancock Park.

“They see the steps, but they don’t know where it goes,” the mayor said. “There’s no signage at the top saying what it is.”

Valentine has been out identifying places where trail users or travelers could stop and get a bite to eat.

Smith said the state has been willing to help the town with signage with the town being reimbursed for the costs.

The Bowles House also came up in the discussion, as the town wants to get the historic house along the canal reopened.

The house has been used as the C&O Canal National Historical Park’s Visitor Center in Hancock.

Smith said one possibility is for the county tourism department to take over in a lease agreement with the National Park Service, or a decision by the Park Service to allow the town to staff the house with volunteers.

“I think they all know we’re definitely trying to push tourists here,” Smith said. “But we want stuff once they get here for them to be able to identify everything we have for them to use.”