Although the Mineral County Historical Foundation made a good case for operating a drive-by fundraiser to benefit the Carskadon Mansion, the Keyser City Council was right to reject the organization's request for a roadway fund drive.
Virtually every charitable organization could make a similarly legitimate request, and if the city gave permission to one group, it would have to grant waivers to others. And that could pose a genuine threat to pedestrians and drivers alike.
As Councilman Glen “Bunk” Shumaker noted, drive-by fundraisers were halted in the city under his mayoral administration because of such safety concerns.
The fund drives are certainly effective. As Historical Foundation members noted, one drive alone netted $1,200 for the group, which is working to restore and maintain the Carskadon Mansion. Drivers caught in what is also called a “roadblock” fundraiser are a captive audience to the solicitation, and it's a lot harder to say no to such a face-to-face appeal.
But drive-by fundraisers are also inherently dangerous, to all concerned. Traffic invariably backs up, increasing the risk of rear-enders, and pedestrians looking to cross Mineral Street must navigate the tie-up.
Keyser-area residents saw what can happen last week, when an accident in front of the Sheetz store caused a miles-long backup that contributed to two other minor accidents.
The Historical Foundation put forth a strong argument in noting the proximity of the Carskadon Mansion to South Mineral St./Route 220, but allowing the fundraiser would have opened the floodgates to requests from other groups.
The city was right to ban on drive-by fundraisers. The Council was right to maintain that ban.
As for the Historical Foundation, they're taking a more traditional fundraising route this Saturday, with a funnel cake sale in the South End Park, just across from the mansion. Area residents can support the organization's valuable preservation and educational mission – and feed their funnel-cake craving -- by coming out Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to buy some of the best funnel cakes around.