MAYOR AND COUNCIL
JANUARY 20, 2015
Mayor Cerino called the meeting to order at 7:58 p.m. In attendance were Council members Linda Kuiper, Samuel T. Shoge and Mauritz Stetson, W. S. Ingersoll, Town Manager, Jennifer Mulligan, Town Clerk and guests.
Mayor Cerino asked if there were any additions or corrections to the minutes of the Mayor and Council meeting of January 5, 2015. Mr. Stetson moved to approve the Mayor and Council meeting minutes of January 5, 2015 as presented, was seconded by Mr. Shoge and carried unanimously.
Mayor Cerino stated that cash on hand and in the banks was $1,703,313.06 and funds set aside in the amount of $196,740.00 from the Washington College donation for a total of $1,900,053.06.
Mayor Cerino asked for a motion to pay bills. Mr. Stetson moved to pay the bills as submitted, was seconded by Mr. Shoge and carried unanimously.
Chief Baker presented the Police Report for December 2014.
Chief Baker called forward Officer Michelle Leone. He said that Officer Leone has been with the Town of Chestertown for two (2) years and promoted her to Officer First Class. Chief Baker also presented Officer First Class Leone with the Chief’s Citation, which was awarded to those as identified as exceptional and exemplifying the highest standard of the police profession. Chief Baker explained that Officer First Class Leone has exceptional first aid and life-saving skills, which she has already performed in saving several lives.
Chief Baker called forward Officer Walker and Officer McCracklin. Officers Walker and McCracklin were presented with Chief’s Citations for their outstanding service in an April 2014 incident where upon answering a call to a residence, they had to subdue an intoxicated male who became combative. Both officers sustained severe injuries as a result.
Mr. Kees de Mooy gave a presentation on the process involved with the NEA “Our Town” playscape. He said that the playscape was really meant to be a piece of art that children could interact with. The RFP went out nationwide and contained a number of criteria to be followed. Twelve (12) submissions were received and were judged by a seven (7) member jury, members of which were Ellie Altman, Robbie Behr, Alex Castro, Stacy Clark, Sally Harding, Lani Seikely and Miles Barnard.
Mr. Miles Barnard stated that the NEA Master Plan was used as guide on selecting the piece chosen for the Wilmer Park. He said that the submissions were reviewed as art, followed by play and based on eight (8) criteria; consistency with the Master Plan, aesthetics, site appropriateness, functionality, fun and engaging for all ages, feasibility, maintenance, and safety.
Mr. Barnard stated that after judging the criteria, the pieces selected for Wilmer Park was called Broad Reach by David Hess (a sculptor from Baltimore, Maryland). They were two (2) separate sculptures, one representing a sail and the other a wave, made of stainless steel. Mr. Barnard stated that additional site grading and landscaping with the sculpture would make for a beautiful site. He said that the original site off of Cross Street will be the location for the sculpture.
Mr. de Mooy stated that there was $9,000.00 left from the NEA grant for a deposit. The Town would have to seek grants and donations for the additional $91,000.00 needed to complete the project.
Mr. Barnard stated that the sculpture would consist of a 20’ tall stainless steel ship/sail and a 10’ tall wave in mounded grass. The sculpture would have concrete footers with steel reinforcing.
Ms. Kuiper asked if the owners of Stepne Station were consulted about having a playground in close proximity to their houses. Mr. Barnard stated that the residents were not consulted, but they were given the opportunity (as were all residents) to review the submissions. He said that there was a letter of concern from residents of Stepne Place stating their concerns, and then noted that the change in location was a plus to the owners because it would not impede their view of the water.
Ms. Altman stated that safety and security were issues that the jury thought about when choosing a piece. She said that this sculpture allowed for full vision and because it was stainless steel could be buffed out if there was ever any vandalism.
Mr. Charles Lerner, resident of Stepne, was present and stated that he spoke for all of the residents of Stepne in their opposition to the playscape. He said he did appreciate the change in location, he did not think that the modern design fit with the park or the Historic District. He said that he thought the playground should be at the elementary school or where the basketball court is being built.
Mr. Lerner stated that the jury panel’s process was done in secret with little opportunity for public comment. He said that he asked when the meetings were being held and for the final selection and he was not permitted to the answers.
Mayor Cerino stated that the reason there is no playground in Town is because the people who live near parks, although public, oppose the suggestion. He said that this one play area is not the play area for Chestertown as there had to be more play area for children in the Town parks.
Ms. Carla Massoni stated that this project has been discussed at meetings for the last two (2) years, not only at Town meetings, but at any and every community meeting in Chestertown. She said that children needed activities and their parents needed to know that Chestertown was kid-friendly.
Mr. Alex Castro stated that this project would be nationally recognized and was vital for Chestertown.
Mr. Gail Register, Cannon Street resident, stated that she thought the sculpture was not safe for play.
Ms. Joan Craig, who lives on South Queen Street on the other side of the Wilmer Park, thought the playscape was beautiful and said she could not wait for her grandchildren to be able to play on it, noting that the site needed some work as it currently poorly drained and wet.
Mayor Cerino suggested a public meeting with the artist chosen and the panelists to discuss the design, site, and other issues. Mr. de Mooy stated that the grant ended in late February and a vote to ratify the decision of the jury for the design had to take place before the deadline in order to submit the invoices for the grant.
Mr. de Mooy stated that he wanted to discuss the Arts & Entertainment District with the Council. He said that there had to be a Resolution agreeing to the boundaries of the District and the tax incentives that would be the economic incentive for artists and arts-focused ventures in Town. Mr. de Mooy stated that he had a draft boundary that he would like to have approved by the Planning Commission and the Greater Chestertown Initiative before asking for Council approval. He said that he would like to bring the Resolution to the Council at a meeting in February.
Mr. Shoge stated that he would like to know how Towns are using A&E Districts in order to revitalize and asked for case studies showing how business and tourism are benefitting from becoming a District. Mr. de Mooy stated that the staff position it created was a large benefit, tax abatements for the artists was another, noting that the tax abatements would not decrease Chestertown’s existing tax base as only income taxes due on art pieces were affected. He said that additions to buildings (after the designation) would also be abated in an amount and time to be specified by the Town. There was also an incentive for admissions and entertainment, but he did not think that there was anything in Chestertown that presently qualified. Mr. de Mooy stated that every town in Maryland that had an A&E District has benefitted by a net of at least $40,000.00 saved by artists and venues in said Districts.
Mayor Cerino stated that the becoming an Arts & Entertainment District is a “stamp of approval” from the State of Maryland that the Town is an Arts and Entertainment Destination. He said that the arts and entertainment already exist in Chestertown and this was another way to market tourism. Ms. Shoge stated that he would like to meet with some A&E managers to see how things are done in their towns.
Mr. de Mooy stated that he would he would return with the Resolution and the map of the Arts & Entertainment Designation map at a future meeting in the near future. Mayor Cerino stated that the consensus of the Council at the December meeting was to send a letter of intent to the State to start the designation process.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the permit for Chester Gras has been filed for Saturday, February 7th and read the request into the record. Mr. Shoge moved to approve the permit request, including waiving the open container law for February 7, 2015, was seconded by Ms. Kuiper and carried unanimously.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that Delmarva Power planned to install a new submarine cable from Kingstown to the foot of Cannon Street. He said that they wanted to perform the work this winter and had planned to come before the Mayor and Council before it started. He said he thought they were planning the work for February and it was supposed to be a 2-3 week project. The existing submarine cable in place is 50-years old and a redundant cable was deemed to be necessary. Their operations would block the first block of Cannon Street from Water Street past the pump station.
Mayor Cerino stated that there was a hearing on the SHA proposed bridge closure on Wednesday, January 21st at 9:00 a.m. in the Kent County Commissioners Office. He said that one of the proposals was to permanently close the drawbridge. A letter of opposition was received by Mr. Garrett Falcone, Executive Director of Heron Point, which would be added to the file. Mayor Cerino stated that this was outside of his purview but he would attend the meetings as an advocate for concerned residents.
Mayor Cerino stated that he received an email from Mr. Ken Kozel from Shore Regional Health regarding the Ivey Sol™ pilot test. He said Mr. Kozel thought that MDE would be willing to have another public meeting with residents to discuss the results of the test and the plan moving forward.
Mayor Cerino stated that the I-Sign discussion will take place on February 2nd.
Mr. Shoge stated that the website launch party would be held on Friday, February 6th in Town Hall as part of February’s First Friday.
Ms. Kuiper stated that she attended the County Commissioners meeting earlier in the evening and there was no opposition to the Class A Beer and Wine license for the Chester River Wine & Cheese Shop on the corner of Cannon Street and Cross Street. She said that representatives of Chamber of Commerce, DCA, and Mr. J. R. Alfree of JR’s Pub and Lemon Leaf were present to support the application.
Mr. Shoge stated that the new website was www.townofchestertown.com and was now online. He said that it was a pleasure to work with Ms. Sullivan of Moo Productions. Mr. Shoge stated that he thought that the website had the potential to be award winning.
Mr. Shoge stated he emailed the Council conceptual ideas for the Marketing Committee and incorporated comments that he received from Mayor Cerino and Ms. Gross. Ms. Kuiper stated that she thought Nancy McTear from the Farmer’s Market should be on the committee.
Mr. Shoge stated that the Marketing Committee should be a public body responsible for helping the Town create a brand for Chestertown to market it. He said that promotion of activities and events should cater to those in Chestertown and surrounding area.
Mr. Shoge stated that it was important for someone from the Kent County Tourism Office to be involved with the committee. He said that the Visitors Center was an important asset and he thought all print material should be combined comprehensively. He said that the Committee could present strategies on how to improve the Visitors Center space.
Mr. Shoge stated that he would touch base with the College Relations and Marketing Office, Kent County Tourism, and any other interested bodies that the Council thought should be represented on the committee.
Mr. Stetson stated that he attended the Community Breakfast Group meeting and there was a representative from Redner’s as the speaker. He said that the company was 49% employee-owned and would open in late spring.
Mr. Stetson thanked the DCA for their donation of a tree to Bailey Park.
Mr. Stetson asked that residents turn a blue light on in support of the police.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that everyone was sad to learn of the death of Gil Watson, noting that he served the Town in a fashion that would be difficult for anyone to equal. He said that he was a wonderful Planning Commission member.
Mr. Stetson stated that Dr. Forney also passed away in the last week after a short bout with cancer. He said that he was a wonderful veterinarian.
There being no further business, Mr. Stetson moved to adjourn the meeting at 9:12 p.m., was seconded by Mr. Shoge and carried unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Jennifer Mulligan Chris Cerino
Town Clerk Mayor