MAYOR AND COUNCIL
OCTOBER 18, 2021
Mayor Foster called the meeting to order at 6:30 p.m. In attendance were Councilmembers Samuel Shoge, Tom Herz, Ellsworth Tolliver and Meghan Efland, W. S. Ingersoll (Town Manager), Jennifer Mulligan (Town Clerk) and guests.
Mayor Foster asked if there were any additions or corrections to the minutes of the Mayor and Council Meeting of October 4, 2021. Mr. Shoge moved to approve the minutes of the meetings of October 4, 2021, as presented, was seconded by Ms. Efland and carried unanimously.
Mayor Foster stated that the operating funds on hand amount was $1,476,765.08.
Mayor Foster asked for a motion to approve the payment of the bills. Mr. Herz moved to pay the bills as presented, was seconded by Rev. Tolliver and carried unanimously.
Mr. Drew McMullen of Sultana Education Foundation was present to give an update on the Lawrence Wetland Preserve which is adjacent to the rail-trail. He said that this property would be used in their educational program with a focus on the preservation of nature. He said that it will be open to the public after hours and on weekends. The property was 8.5 acres, half of which was wetlands. A woodland buffer will be created around the perimeter of the wetlands and 400 trees will be planted between now and the end of the year. Two trails will be created around the pond. Most of the property has already been regraded. A 1,200 sq.ft. building will be constructed and used year-round for classroom operations. It included bathroom facilities and would be heated and cooled. A nature play space was also planned for the site and two (2) small pond docks will be constructed over the pond. A boardwalk will be constructed through the wetland so that people can easily walk through the marsh grasses.
Mr. McMullen showed the rendering of the proposed building for the wetland preserve.
Mr. McMullen stated that the Downrigging Festival is moving forward and said that they would require vaccine certifications for entry into the music festival portion of the event.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that he had received a call about cannons being fired off during Downrigging. Mr. McMullen stated that Sultana does not shoot their cannons but some of the other ships do. Mr. Ingersoll recommended that cannons should not be fired until ships were out of Chestertown proper, downriver of Radcliffe Creek. Mr. Shoge moved that the ships do not fire any cannons until they were sailing south of Radcliffe Creek outside of Chestertown, was seconded by Rev. Tolliver and carried unanimously.
Ms. Annie Richards of Shore Rivers was present to give an overview of their Chestertown Stormwater Management Program. Ms. Richards stated that planning grants had been received and the first project they implemented was at Washington College. Ms. Richards stated that there were priority projects at Bailey Park (Bailey I and Bailey Park II) and a raingarden proposal at the Chestertown Marina. Ms. Richards stated that they had originally thought the area where Bailey Park I was planned was part of Bailey Park. However, they discovered that Bailey I was completely on property owned by the Hospital. Shore Rivers is now planning to work with the Hospital to see if approvals would be given to implement their proposed design.
Ms. Richards stated that Bailey Park II went from town owned land to land owned by Heron Point and said that Heron Point was in support of the project. Shore Rivers was proposing a stream restoration and was seeking approval from the Council for the project. Bailey Park III was a currently just concept plan with a pollinator meadow and mimicked the natural swales while providing a new space to meander through a path. The grant application was open until December 1 and Shore Rivers would create 90% build designs. Ms. Richards stated that if funding was made available, they would be able to break ground in December 2023. Mayor Foster asked if the Town would be funding the construction of the stormwater projects or would that be funded by the granting agencies. Ms. Richards said that the ultimate funding can require matching which can be combinations of cash, in-kind or non-state grant funds.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that he thought designs should be subject to change, adding that Shore Rivers should have spent time with the Town at the outset of their planning process. That way they would have learned that Bailey I was not even on Town owned property. He said additionally that Shore Rivers had wondered whether the Town would maintain their constructed plan for Bailey I on Hospital property which did not seem feasible. He said that the Town should be full partners in any plans submitted for grant funding, especially when they were going to be asked to participate in the funding of the result.
Mayor Foster stated that Shore Rivers was looking for a Resolution from the Town to present to the Hospital on the portion of work on Hospital land. Mr. Ingersoll stated that when Bailey Park was purchased with Open Space money it was done so with the idea of filling the void of ball fields and play spaces in Chestertown left by County projects. He said that this type of project may look maintenance free but often turns out to be difficult to maintain as invasive species take over the unmaintained areas. He recommended that the concepts of Bailey Park III, which he thought were not on the original plan submitted, be set aside or looked at carefully before agreeing to those concepts. He also recommended that the Council focus on Bailey Park II as the beginning of it starts between two privately owned houses.
Ms. Richards stated that she drafted a letter in support of the proposals for the Council which could be changed in any way by the Council. She said that this was an agreement to an exploratory process.
Mr. Shoge moved for Mayor Foster to sign a letter of consent supporting the concept and ideas presented by Ms. Richards and supporting the grant proposal, was seconded by Ms. Efland and carried unanimously.
Mayor Foster called forward Chief of Police Dixon for his report on activities within Chestertown for the month of September. Chief Dixon stated that he is now working full-time and happy to be in the position of Chief. He said that he met with Sheriff Price, the Kent County Drug Task Force and Washington College’s Public Safety office to introduce himself. He said that he was planning future meetings with Emergency Services, the State’s Attorney office and Social Services.
Chief Dixon stated that he made some changes to the September report. When asked by the Council, he said that there were 8 sworn officers including himself on staff to date.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the Halloween Parade ran into some issues due to the present way that the Farmers Market sets up along High Street. Mayor Foster stated that the Market has grown, and the vendors now park their cars, trucks and vans next to the street curbs and place their tents in the street travel lanes. This leaves no safe way to conduct a parade on the street.. Mayor Foster stated that the vendors have agreed to move their tents to the curb for the Halloween Parade on Saturday, October 30th. He added that Ms. King asked if this could be avoided in the future by having all parades in the afternoon rather than in the morning.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that Ms. Fleegle of Chestertown Main Street was present to discuss Santa’s arrival in Chestertown, which would take place on Friday, November 26th from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. There were some street closures requested for the evening along the 300 block of High Street by Fountain Park.
Ms. Fleegle stated that the Christmas Parade was scheduled for Saturday, November 27th and the barricades will be set up so that the parade will turn by People’s bank and the parade will end in that location. Those participating in the parade can then turn onto Calvert Street to go back to Dixon Drive.
Rev. Tolliver moved to approve the holiday parade and festivities, was seconded by Mr. Herz and carried unanimously.
Ms. Fleegle stated that Dickens of a Christmas was taking place in a modified fashion this year due to Covid. She said that events were planned for outdoor only and condensed to the 200 block of High Street and Memorial Plaza. Street closures will take place on Friday, December 3rd with use of the stage for entertainment from 5 to 9 p.m. The Farmers and Artisans Market will take place as usual and there will be an additional tent along the 200 block of High Street with other vendors. A petting zoo was also being incorporated into the event, which will end by 4 p.m. on Saturday, December 4th. A 5k will take place on Sunday, December 5th. The Council agreed to the request for the Dickens of a Christmas festival as submitted.
Mayor Foster stated that the Council of Governments had no set representatives from Chestertown and was now meeting online over Zoom. He said he hoped that at least one member can attend the zoom meetings on the third Wednesday of each month. Mayor Foster stated that he would attend this Wednesday’s meeting.
Mayor Foster asked for Ward Reports.
Ms. Efland stated that Compass Health had temporarily closed the four beds in Chestertown, however, that was going to remain permanent. She said that there were beds available in Centreville.
Ms. Efland stated that delays had taken place on the next phase of the Rail-Trail (at the crossing on Morgnec Road), but they were still hoping to finish by winter.
Ms. Efland stated that there was a demonstration project discussion to take place on Greenwood Avenue by Owen Bailey. Mr. Bailey would be joining a future Council meeting to discuss the results
Rev. Tolliver stated that the Social Action Committee for Racial Justice (SACJR) held an extremely successful block party on the 400 block of Calvert Street on October 9th.
Rev. Tolliver stated that the SACJR will host a forum of candidates on Monday, October 25 at 7:00 p.m. over Zoom. He said that anyone wanting to attend could touch base with him for an invitation. Rev. Tolliver also asked that Chief Dixon join the meeting so he could introduce him to the members of the committee.
Mayor Foster stated that the League of Women Voters was hosting a forum on Tuesday, October 26 at 7 p.m. through the Kent County Library.
Mr. Herz stated that the traffic delineators were installed on High Street and the fire department made sure that they could navigate the intersection. He said that cars were stopping which indicated to him that they must be working. The mobile stop signs will be out in the next two (2) weeks.
Mr. Shoge stated that he was joining Heron Point for their 30th Anniversary Celebration on Thursday, October 21st and said that the event will be recorded and streamed through the community due to Covid restrictions.
Mayor Foster asked to encourage people to get out to vote on Tuesday, November 2nd.
There being no further business and no other questions or comments from the audience, Mr. Herz moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:22 p.m. was seconded by Rev. Tolliver and carried unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Jennifer Mulligan David Foster
Town Clerk Mayor