MAYOR AND COUNCIL MEETING
September 17, 2001
Mayor Margo G. Bailey called the meeting to order at 7:42 p.m. In attendance were Mabel Mumford-Pautz, Whaland Clark, Harrison C. Bristoll, Jr., and J. Brian Kirby, William S. Ingersoll, Town Manager and Zoning Administrator, Jennifer Stead, Stenographer, and guests.
Mayor Bailey asked if there were any additions or corrections to the minutes of the previous meeting or the Executive Session of September 4, 2001. Mr. Bristoll moved that the minutes be accepted as presented, was seconded by Mr. Clark and carried unanimously.
Mayor Bailey stated that an Executive Session was held on Monday, September 4, 2001, at 8:20 p.m. pursuant to 10.508 of the annotated code of Maryland. The Mayor and three Council members were in attendance and voted unanimously to go into Executive Session. The first item to be discussed was a legal matter involving an easement on Town property to allow a shed on 214 N. Queen Street to remain as located. The easement was approved by unanimous vote. Two other property
matters were discussed. The Council voted to demolish the building at 700 High Street. The vote was for three in favor, one opposed. The other matter involved property acquisition and was approved by unanimous vote. The meeting was adjourned at 9:00 p.m. Minutes were taken and are part of the record.
Mayor Bailey stated that cash on hand and in banks was $323,559.73
Mayor Bailey introduced Pamela Ortiz, who represented Imagination Alley and had a presentation for the Town. Mrs. Ortiz handed out folders to the Mayor and Council, with information about the organization. She stated that Imagination Alley, which is a center for young artists in Chestertown, has been in operation since February 2000. She stated that they were located on High Street, next to Red Shutters, down the alley.
She stated that parents and supporters of children in the area, who recognized that there was a gap in arts programs for children, founded the organization. She stated that currently there were only two other employees, but they had been offering classes and since they opened had about 400 children for different courses. She stated that they did get some funding from local organizations, such as the Kent County Arts Council and the Local Management Board for that purpose.
However, most of their money came from registration.
She discussed a "Learn to Learn" program for the Kent County Public Schools, providing space for an enrichment program for gifted children. They spent an entire week at the center learning about the learning process and developing projects such as writing a book or making a video. They were working on a program with Garnett and Horizons for an outreach after-school program in the arts at Garnett Elementary School. She stated they were planning an event to
collaborate with the Hometown Holidays Project of the Downtown Chestertown Association, where they would provide a drop-off site for kids to do art projects, while the parents shopped.
She cited a Duck Stamp Course that was offered and that the Federal Government hosted a National Contest to find artwork of a waterfowl for a stamp. She said that for the State level, for their age group, four of her students placed; one for first prize, two for second prizes and a fourth earned honorable mention.
Ms Ortiz stated that they wanted to build and be seen as a resource for children in the County. They were not seeking money from the Town but were seeking to expand their association with outside help from volunteers.
Mayor Bailey and Mr. Ingersoll went over the MD Rt. 213 Task Force Minutes. There were several things addressed and they were as follows:
1. Replace the manhole covers at the intersection of N. Water Street and Rt. 213.
Mayor Bailey stated there was a feeling that the manhole covers were not fitting properly and that could have been one of the reasons for increased sound, due to vibrations from the covers. There was a possibility of resurfacing Rt. 213 with a new asphalt composite and replacement of manhole covers would be coordinated at that time. SHA had agreed to include that task in the resurfacing project.
2. Install a pedestrian barrier and appropriate signage at the steps on the northeast corner of Rt. 213 and N. Water Street.
Mr. Ingersoll stated this was the 200 North block of Water Street. He stated that crossing there was extremely blind and people had feared an accident. He stated there were plans for a railing with a sign that would tell pedestrians it was recommended to cross at Queen Street.
3. Add reflectors on the median strip from the center of the Chester River Bridge to Queen Street.
It was agreed that placing the reflectors on the median from the north end of the bridge to the far side of the Water Street intersection would accomplish the desired objective of channeling the traffic flow around the bend at night. SHA agreed to place rubber overlay reflectors on the median strip as an interim measure, pending resurfacing of Route 213, at which time the permanent reflectors might be considered.
4. Replace worn and faded signs at the intersection of North Water Street and River Terrace.
Mayor Bailey stated the town was taking care of that.
5. Install pedestrian-activated LED lighted cross walks at the intersections of Queen Street/Route 213, the main Washington College crossing on Route 213, and at Route 213/Route 291.
Mayor Bailey explained that LED reflector lights are lights that go on when you step into the street. She stated they were especially helpful at night, when people are crossing streets in dark clothing. However, it was the policy of the State of Maryland not to put LED lights in marked crosswalks. To make pedestrian crossings more fully defined, they were going to look at putting stamp colored asphalt, telling motorists of the crosswalk.
6. Analyze the feasibility of increasing the turning radius of Route 213 northbound lane at its intersection with Spring Avenue, as well as upgrading the entire intersection.
Mayor Bailey stated this was a "tricky" intersection for pedestrians to cross going north or South. They were going to try to make this safer for the pedestrians. The SHA would be looking into a total redesign of the intersection for vehicles as well.
7. Undertake a general study of the traffic flow in Chestertown in the context of the loss of funding for the Chestertown by-pass.
Mayor Bailey stated that the 213 Diversion Study would provide input for a broader assessment of traffic flow throughout Chestertown. She noted that people might have noticed the surveyors looking at traffic patterns. She stated that they were going to wait until some improvements were made and then return to look at the traffic again to see what further steps need to be taken.
8. Undertake an update of the traffic count study on the Chester River Bridge to augment the recently completed study.
The Task Force took no resolution of this suggestion. The issue was still open.
9. Develop a plan to increase police presence to deter speeding on Route 213, with emphasis on the leg between the Chester River Bridge and Spring Avenue.
Mayor Bailey stated that Chief Coryell had placed police cars on Water Street, watching the traffic at night. He noted trucks traveling through Town between 3 and 6 in the morning and the trucks were local trucks, with business in Chestertown. He had names of the companies and was calling them to ask their drivers to not use their "Jake brakes", which is a method of saving their brakes, when traveling through town.
10. Consider re-striping Route 213 to create two northbound lanes and one southbound lane between Spring Avenue and the North end of the Washington College Campus or establishing turning lanes at key intersections.
Mayor Bailey stated that she was pleased with the study and when the pieces were finished they would do a general traffic study. Mayor Bailey thanked State Highway for their continuing work.
Mr. Ingersoll introduced Rev. Fisher, who wanted to have a play on September 29, 2001, called, "Now I See The Light", from 4:30-6:30 p.m. on Calvert Street. Rev. Fisher stated that he requested the play, given by a group from Delaware, to demonstrate what drugs can do to your life. He stated that each member of the cast was a drug user or drug seller in the past and were campaigning to spread their message of what the effects of drugs can do. They bring a
portable prison and tell their stories of what happened to them when they were abusing drugs. Rev. Fisher stated that he would like to "put things in the people's laps", and do the play by Calvert Homes, on a portion of the street, so that the surrounding area would see it. He chose the late afternoon (instead of the evening) so there would be no problem with the residents. The entire play was going to be no more than two hours. Rev. Fisher stated that he knew there was
drug activity in Chestertown and he wanted to send a message to the community.
Mrs. Mumford-Pautz asked Rev. Fisher if there was enough room or if cars would have to be moved. Rev. Fisher stated that he thought there would be nothing in the way, but wanted to block the street, with orange cones and barriers, for two hours so no traffic would come through. He stated that if there were problems, the neighbors would let him know, and in the future he would try to do things another way. Rev. Fisher stated that because the children were out in the
street that was where the play needed to be. He stated that if it was moved away from them, they would have avoided it. Rev. Fisher sent flyers out to the families in the area to make them aware of the play. Mrs. Mumford-Pautz moved that the play be allowed as requested, was seconded by Mr. Bristoll and carried unanimously.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that he had a request from Mark Mumford to hold the 9th Annual Kent County Community Band Concert in the Fountain Park on September 21, 2001 from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. Mr. Clark moved to approve the concert as planned, was seconded by Mr. Bristoll and unanimously carried. Mayor Bailey stated that would be the last concert of the season.
Mr. Ingersoll reported on the tonnage for the Hot-Spot Cleanup. He stated that they hauled 43.37 tons of trash, or 86,000 lbs of yard waste. He hoped this was something that could be done again and noted that the entire $5,000.00 was not spent on tipping fees. He stated that was about $4,200.00. The other funds were tipping fees from an earlier cleanup in June. Mr. Ingersoll stated that he would recommend this grant for other cities. He thought that the areas still
looked very clean. Rev. Fisher commended the Council for the effort, and asked if any outsiders came in to dump their trash. Mr. Ingersoll stated that that did begin to happen by the end of the second and final week and he had expected that to happen.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the Department of Natural Resources had a project called "Community Parks and Playgrounds", authorized by the legislature this year. He stated that it was primarily for the restoration of parks around Maryland. He stated that there was nine million dollars available this year and an equal amount, they hoped, next year.
Mr. Ingersoll stated the park that got the most wear and tear was the Wilmer Park. He stated it was there about 20 years, had a huge number of events, and needed attention.
The Town was seeking the following repairs: to repair, replace and repave the walking trails damaged by the land settling and the re-bulkheading efforts; to re-seed or sod areas affected by the re-bulkheading and re-grading due to land settlement; to improve and make pedestrian friendly the Water Street entrance to the park; to raise and re-pave the visitor parking lot because of settling; to replace the falling down hawser fence; to provide pedestrian lighting for
safety, security and aesthetic purposes; to provide sprinklers for landscape and lawn areas; to enhance the landscaping according to professionally done plans and to install a drinking fountain, more benches and trashcans. Mr. Ingersoll estimated the cost to be about $125,000.00.
The second project was a three-acre habitat park, located at Route 289 where it meets Radcliffe Creek. This was an old sewer treatment plant. Some activities proposed were as follows: wetland restoration and phragmites removal; construction of a non-obtrusive boardwalk for pedestrians and the handicapped to the old sewer plant; creation of nature walkways along the river and creek; making the sewer plant building into a safe observatory with a handicapped accessible
deck on top; constructing a circular ramp to reach the top for all visitors; creating habitat areas for birds and wildlife that can be viewed, but not reached by visitors (ospreys, bluebirds, shorebirds, redwings and blackbirds and others will be helped); create a small parking lot and bike rack on the old driveway to the sewer plant building; create canoeing accessibility will be created on the Radcliffe Creek side of the property.
Mr. Ingersoll stated there would also be dollars for engineering for the boardwalk, deck and handicap ramp and for planning and designing overall project. The amount requested was $56,000.00.
Mr. Ingersoll said that since there was such a short grant deadline, that he had to submit the application before the Council would meet and asked the Council if they wanted to follow through on the grants if they received them. Mr. Clark moved that the applications be followed through with if the grant money becomes available, was seconded by Mr. Bristoll and carried unanimously.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the Town had been working under a consent order on biological nitrate removal (BNR). He stated that the Town was moving into second gear. The pre-application for matching BNR grant funds was completed, with the limit being $600,000.00. He did state that the funds may not always be there, but they were available now. He stated that the application would go out and they would soon have invitations for bids from engineers, and the engineering
plans would be done at that time. Mr. Ingersoll stated that it would only be a matter of time before the Department for the Environment was asking about the progress on the project. Mr. Ingersoll explained that the BNR was also expected to cure the BOD problems of two years ago. Since that time there have been no high readings for a discharge and that they do run low on nitrogen and phosphorous for now. However, the corrected measures envisioned, would make the Town lower than that.
Mayor Bailey read a proclamation that the Old Kent Chapter of the National Society of the Daughter's of American Revolution made "Constitution Week" September 17 - 23, 2001. Mayor Bailey stated this could not have been a more fitting week for this and asked the citizens to reaffirm the ideals the framers of the Constitution had in 1787 by vigilantly protecting the freedoms guaranteed to us.
Mayor Bailey stated that the Chestertown Fire Company was participating in a Banner Remembering Program. They were asking people to sign their banners, which would be taken to Emmetsburg, and then to New York City, as a token of our wishes for the losses on September 11. Wednesday, September 19, from 7-9 p.m. and Thursday, September 20, from 7-9 p.m. the banner will be available at the Fire Hall.
Mayor Bailey stated that people have been struggling all week with thoughts of what to do to honor the people in New York and Washington, who lost their lives. She noted that looking on the television and around town, people had lit candles. She thought it might be appropriate for an ever-burning flame at Memorial Park as you enter and asked for the Council's approval. She stated it would not be only for this tragedy, but for remembrance of everybody from the community
who gave their lives in past wars. She stated she would like to do some research on how to do this and would bring it back for approval later. Mr. Bristoll moved for an ever-burning flame to be researched and put into Memorial Park was seconded by Mrs. Mumford-Pautz and unanimously carried.
Mr. Clark moved to reappoint Betty Needles, Chairman, Hilda Gilbert and George Johnson to four-year terms on the Board of Elections Supervisors, was seconded by Mr. Kirby and unanimously carried.
Mr. Bristoll made a motion for payment of bills, was seconded by Mr. Kirby and carried unanimously.
Mr. Bristoll moved that the meeting be adjourned at 8:22 p.m. was seconded by Mr. Bristoll and carried unanimously.