MAYOR AND COUNCIL
JULY 5, 2022
Mayor Foster called the meeting to order at 6:37 p.m. In attendance were Councilmembers Tim O’Brien, Tom Herz, Jose Medrano and Meghan Efland, Jennifer McCann (Town Clerk) and guests.
Mayor Foster asked if there were any additions or corrections to the Mayor and Council meeting of June 21, 2022. Mr. Herz moved to approve minutes of the Mayor and Council meeting of June 21, 2022, was seconded by Ms. Efland and carried unanimously.
Mayor Foster stated that operating funds on hand was $2,355,635.15.
Mayor Foster asked for a motion to pay the bills. Ms. Efland moved to approve payment of the bills as submitted, was seconded by Mr. Herz and carried unanimously.
Mr. Herz stated that the ARPA Task Force has been meeting regularly and the deadline for letters of intent to be on record was June 30, 2022. He said that thirty-four (34) letters of intent were received requesting a total of $5.8 million dollars. He said that not all requests can be fulfilled but there were good ideas brought forward to lift Chestertown from a community perspective. The letters will be reviewed for clarification and then applications (which will be much more detailed in nature) will be accepted in September. He said that the Task Force was keeping an eye on the pandemic and Bill Webb of the Kent County Health Department addressed the Committee at their last meeting. The Ethics Commission Attorney also attended and gave an overview of conduct requirements of the Task Force. Mayor Foster asked for a summary sheet of the letters of intent.
Mr. Bogden of the Recreation Commission stated that there was a recommendation to name the Wilmer Park playground in honor of Sarah Derry, who was a well-known and loved resident of the adjacent community who fostered many children. He said that Sarah Derry was a worthy recipient of the honor and said that he would like to name the playground “Aunt Sarah’s Playground.” Mr. Bogden stated that he is contracting with a visiting artist, Katie Hendrickson, to turn a photograph of Sarah to a line portrait that could be etched into a brick paver perhaps with an inscription about her. He said that this would be paid for by the funds raised for playground construction.
Mr. Herz stated that Nancy Dick sent a statement for the record requesting approval of the name of the playground. He read it into the record. Ms. Sarah Scott, Sarah’s niece, was present for the meeting. She said that her Aunt did so much for so many people and it would be great to bring the “Queen” back to Queen Street.
Mr. Herz moved to name the new Wilmer Park Playground in honor of Sarah Derry, to be known as “Aunt Sarah’s Playground,” was seconded by Ms. Efland and carried unanimously.
Mayor Foster asked if there was any more information about a fence for Aunt Sarah’s playground. Mr. Bogden stated that there was a Facebook post asking for thoughts about a fence and the consensus was mixed. Mr. Bogden suggested that closely planted bushes could function as a fence. Mr. Herz stated that in addition, a fence in certain areas would be helpful. Mr. Bogden stated that he was planning a meeting with the Arts Committee to produce a more definite idea.
Ms. Carol Tate was present and stated that her background was in education, and she was familiar with a playground atmosphere. She said that there would be a great liability if something happened to a child at the playground. She said that she loved the ambience of the playground without a fence, but because of the liability she thought shrubbery as a deterrent might be the best way to solve the issue. Mr. Bogden stated that benches were planned to be placed next to the playground, but that decision obviously could not be made until the issue of a fence was decided. Mr. Bogden stated that he would reach out to Miles Barnard to see if he could provide illustrations of possible solutions.
Mayor Foster stated that he was concerned over the noise of the drums and asked if there was a way to muffle the sound. Ms. Fleegle of Main Street stated that the noise that might be bothering some people is actually the ship’s bell on the playground, not the drum. There had also been complaints about noise late in the evening and early in the morning. Mr. Ingersoll stated that the noise ordinance is always in effect and if it is reported, it would be addressed.
Mayor Foster stated that he attended a rededication of the Rotary bandstand today at the Wilmer Park.
Mr. Bogden stated that the formal playground dedication was being arranged in conjunction with Legacy Day on Sunday, August 20th. There will be additional information forthcoming.
Mr. Bogden stated that an art mural on the side of the salt shed at Ajax Park would be lovely. Mr. Ingersoll stated that a project of that nature would have to start with approval of the Historic District Commission.
Mr. Bogden stated that he was looking into kayak and windboard storage racks at Wilmer Park and/or the Marina. He said that Mr. Coleman at the Marina seemed interested in some sort of rental accommodation, and he said that he was inviting outfitters to demonstrate and rent equipment at their Saturday in the Park event on Saturday, July 23rd. This would be a trial run for any future arrangement. Mr. Ingersoll cautioned that a private for-profit operation could jeopardize the tax free status of the Marina, but he was interested to see how this worked at the July 23rd event.
Mayor Foster stated that he saw no problem with a storage rack that local people could sign up to store their kayak, but any rental agreements or a business would have to be investigated. Mr. Bogden stated that he did not have cost estimates for building a rack.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that there had been a June 30th deadline for the possibility of some play equipment for Carpenter Park and he was able to submit a package to Myra Butler at Kent County for a $25,000.00 grant.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that he spoke with Ms. Butler about the purchase of the rest of the land at Bailey Park, which was owned by the Hospital. He said that he originally looked into Program Open Space Stateside funding for the acquisition of the 4 acres but was redirected by Maryland Department of Natural Resources to the Program Open Space Local Program which passes through Kent County for projects. In working with Myra Butler, he was told that there is some POS local set aside dollars designated to acquisition only. Any requesting town would have to put their proposal before the Kent County Parks and Recreation Board first and if approved, the request would have to be considered by the Kent County Commissioners. This area was the acreage that Shore Rivers designed intensive stormwater management structures without knowing that the Hospital owned the property.
Mr. Medrano stated that the HOA at Coventry Farms is looking to connecting a footpath with Washington Park for access to Carpenter Park.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that there was a plaque created by the Equity Advisory Committee in honor of Charlie Graves and the Uptown Club that was intended to be placed in the street right-of-way where the Uptown Club once existed. The owners of the property adjacent to where it was going to be installed were opposed to the installation and as they thought the plaque was being placed on their property. They also felt that it would be a hazard to children playing on the sidewalk. To address their concerns a surveyor was called upon to locate the property line of the street easement was actually 6 feet inside of their fence. He said that he asked the Committee to speak with the homeowners to see where they would like the plaque to be installed but the Committee did not want to get involved and wanted the Town to solve the issue with the homeowner.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that he had moved the existing stop sign at the intersection back to make room on the corner for the plaque and said that he would like to keep working with the homeowners toward a solution. Mr. Ingersoll stated that the Equity Advisory Committee felt that this was a benefit to the community and if he knew it was going to be a problem it would have been made of bronze and installed flush with the sidewalk in front.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that recycling was beginning again on Friday, July 8th and would take place every other week. There were details online at www.townofchestertown.com.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that there was a permit from Kart for the 5k run/walk on October 2nd at Wilmer Park. Mr. Herz moved to approve the application as submitted, was seconded by Mr. O’Brien and carried unanimously.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that there was a request from the Bayside Hoyas for performances in the Fountain Park on August 14th and August 20th using the Town stage by closing Park Row, with an additional request to waive one of the fees for use of the stage. Mr. Ingersoll stated that he would speak with Mr. Queen to get additional details on the proposal.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that there was a request from the Lions Club regarding the Halloween Parade. Mayor Foster stated that he wanted to make sure that the Lions Club plans aligned with the Farmers Market before signing the permit.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that there was an unexpected windfall in housing permits with seven (7) new house permits being filed the week before in the Village of Chestertown (Scheeler Road).
Mr. Ingersoll stated that settlement for the sale of 136 Prospect Street to Kent Attainable Housing had been held.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that he talked with David A. Bramble, Inc. and he was going to get a phase I contract for paving five (5) streets in Town. He said that they would begin with Haacke Drive.
Mayor Foster stated that Mr. Milford Murray was present to discuss some issues on Calvert Street. Mr. Murray stated that he has been trying to get something done with the library annex that faces Calvert Street as there were problems at night that nobody is recognizing, including drug overdoses. He said that he went to the County Commissioners and to the Library and they were “passing the buck” on the issue. He said that nobody wants to take responsibility for the property. Mr. Ingersoll stated that there should be security lighting (at least motion detection lighting) installed in the narrow areas between the Library and the County Office Building. Mr. Ingersoll stated that he would also recommend increasing the police presence. Mayor Foster stated that he did speak to the Police Chief, who recommended a “No Trespassing After Dark” sign installed, but permission from the County was necessary to do that.
Mayor Foster asked for Ward reports.
Mr. O’Brien stated that there was a double stabbing on the 400 block of Calvert Street and asked what could be done to solve the increasing problem of violence in that area.
Mr. O’Brien asked if there was any new information from Asplundh regarding the massive cutting of trees in Town. Mr. Ingersoll stated that he was not finished yet investigating what took place and said that the cutting back was too aggressive. Mr. Ingersoll stated that wherever there are wires trimming occurs, but a State Forestry representative is supposed to be on hand when work takes place, and he did not think that was the case by the look of the trees.
Mr. O’Brien stated that he forwarded information from Ms. Watson for the strategic plan, adding that he had now seen that much work had been done in the past.
Mr. O’Brien stated that he received a complaint about birds in the dumpster by Phat Daddy’s. The owner of Phat Daddy’s was present and stated that he was working on a new lease and negotiating the issue of the dumpster and who should pay for the fence. He said that he needs a larger dumpster, and he was working to solve the issues with the crows.
Mr. Herz thanked Main Street for the Kids Carnival.
Mr. Herz stated that there was a purse snatching in the parking lot of the Alexander Building and the Police did apprehend the person responsible.
Mr. Medrano stated that he would like to nominate Harold Somerville to the ARPA Task Force.
Mr. Medrano stated that there were questions from residents of Washington Park on getting speed bumps on Kennedy Drive and Roosevelt Drive. Mr. Ingersoll stated that a petition from the residents on each street indicating that they want the speed bumps is necessary before any action is taken.
Mr. Medrano stated that the Prickly Pickle opened where Germaine’s had been. K&L on High Street is now shut down and ELB bought the property.
Ms. Efland stated that she would like to nominate Taylor Frey to the ARPA Task Force.
Ms. Efland stated that KRM is seeking a MD Rural Investment Fund Grant and Mr. Matthews was seeking a letter of support for phase II of the business campus. He would be present at the second meeting in August.
Mr. Ingersoll recommended that Music in the Park be limited to dates when bands are already booked. This was due to promised dates that failed to occur in the past.
Mayor Foster stated that there was a primary election for Kent County Commissioners coming up.
There being no further business, Ms. Efland moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:40 p.m., was seconded by Mr. Herz and carried unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Jennifer McCann David Foster
Town Clerk Mayor