MAYOR AND COUNCIL
OCTOBER 4, 2021
Mayor Foster called the meeting to order at 6:50 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 September 20, 2021. Ms. Efland moved to approve the minutes of the meetings of September 20, 2021, as presented, was seconded by Rev. Tolliver and carried unanimously.
Mayor Foster stated that the operating funds on hand amount was $1,605,635.61.
Mayor Foster asked for a motion to approve the payment of the bills. Mr. Shoge moved to pay the bills as presented, was seconded by Mr. Herz and carried unanimously.
Mayor Foster introduced the new President of Washington College, Michael Sosulski. Mr. Sosulski stated that it was a tremendous honor to be leading Washington College at this important time in history. Mr. Sosulski stated that he was looking forward to living in Town and working with the Town.
Mr. Shoge stated that Brewfest would be held on Saturday, November 6th and introduced Sarah King, a board member of the Kent County Chamber of Commerce, to review the permit application. Mr. Shoge, then recused himself citing a conflict of interest (Mr. Shoge is the Kent County Chamber of Commerce Director). Ms. King stated that the Brewfest was proposed to be held on Memorial Plaza and said that a food truck will also be on site (food is separate from the cost of the event tickets). She said they were hoping for approximately three hundred (300) attendees. Road closures were requested beginning Friday, November 5th (to allow for the tent to be installed) through Saturday evening, November 6th. The Brewfest will take place from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday. There were also requests for trash and recycling by the Town and the allowance of signage on High Street above the train tracks. Ms. King showed the overview of the festival area in a PowerPoint presentation.
Mr. Ingersoll asked if Emmanuel Church has been contacted. Ms. King stated that they have not discussed it yet but will reach out to them to make sure that there are no conflicts. Mr. Ingersoll also suggested that the Farmers Market Manager be made aware of their plans.
The Council agreed to approve the permit request with the conditions that the applicant reach out to Emmanuel Church and Julie King of the Farmers Market to review the application.
Mr. Jim Bogden and Mr. Frank Rhodes were present on behalf of the Recreation Commission to discuss the Ajax Park project. Mr. Rhodes stated that there were several changes to the plan that he was presenting this evening and presented sketches to the Council. He said that this pushed the court back against the Town’s public parking lot on Cannon Street and provided for new tree plantings.
Mr. Bogden stated that when the presentation was given at the last meeting there was skepticism about the tree logs along the trail. He said that the logs and stumps were non-permanent and would not interfere with the easement restrictions.
Ms. Secethia Boarding Davis, resident of Chestertown and Early Childhood Development Educator, stated that there was value of natural materials and play spaces for children. She said that as an early childhood education provider she has used natural playscapes in design for early learning. She said that children are pre-disposed to be connected to nature. An information sheet was provided to the Council on how natural playgrounds stimulate a child’s imagination.
Rev. Tolliver stated that the Recreation Commission did their due diligence and moved to approve their new plan with the necessary modifications to make it work. The motion failed for lack of a second.
Mr. Shoge stated that he would like to divorce the natural playscape from the basketball court. He said that the discussion was to add 28’ to the existing court. Mr. Herz stated that funding was also an issue.
Rev. Tolliver stated that the Council has reviewed four (4) plans and he felt the Council needed to approval something.
Rev. Tolliver moved to approve the newest revisions presented at this meeting tonight with whatever modifications are required to make it work. The motion failed for lack of a second.
Ms. Efland asked if a natural playscape would be accepted for use in the easement. Mr. Ingersoll stated that he did not think that the Maryland Rail Administration kept track of removable items next to the leased rail trail. He suggested that they would care about any permanent construction on the site.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the court today was moved from its original site and was much smaller than the original court of the Ajax Park. He said that the court presented at the meeting was similar in size to the original Ajax court.
Mr. Shoge stated that he was not committed to this plan as there were now so many basketball courts in existence in Chestertown. He said that by saying that he was not in favor of this court because Gateway Park is in place.
Mr. Shoge stated that he would like to move the court to face the rail-trail and was not in favor of expanding the court. He wants to keep the current playscape in place.
Mr. Shoge moved to keep the current configuration of Ajax, moving the hoop to face the rail trail and installing trash and recycling bins, bike stands, a more prominent entrance and keeping the playscape in place.
Ms. Efland stated that she was interested in shifting the court away from the businesses and keeping the tot lot. Mr. Herz stated that half-court basketball could be played in this version of the park and the tot lot would be nice for the people walking the trail with children. Mr. Herz stated that there was no provision for funding of the playground if they modify the Johnson plan.
Ms. Efland moved to adopt the Ajax Youth Basketball Park 66’ court design with one hoop by the rail trail, reversing the play area and shifting the basketball area closer to the shed and the tot lot equipment nearer to the businesses was seconded by Mr. Herz, and passed with three (3) in favor, Rev. Tolliver opposed, and Mr. Shoge abstained.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that Ron Dixon was sworn in on September 29th as the new Chief of the Chestertown Police Department.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the Rotary Club is replacing the benches at the Wilmer Park. There will be a dedication on Tuesday, October 19th at noon and the Council was invited to attend.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that Upper Shore Aging is submitting a block grant for a new roof at their Senior Center on Schauber Road and read Resolution 07-2021 Authorizing the Submittal of a Subrecipient CDBG Application to Maryland DHCD and authorizing the Mayor of Chestertown to execute all documents required by the submission. Mr. Ingersoll stated the Town was also updating the CDBG Citizen Participation Plan and Residential Anti-Displacement and Relocation Assistance Plan which would also require Council approval. There would be a Zoom Public Hearing on CDBG Subrecipient grant at 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 5, 2021.
Mr. Shoge moved to approve Resolution 07-2021 authorizing the submittal of a subrecipient CDBG application to Maryland DHCD for the Upper Shore Aging roof project and authorizing the Mayor of Chestertown to execute and update all documents required by the submission, was seconded by Ms. Efland and carried unanimously.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the DCA and A&E District are holding the scarecrow contest again this year. He said that he signed the permit in between meetings.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that he would like to schedule a public hearing on Monday, October 18th at 6:15 p.m. for the Expansion of the Arts and Entertainment District. The Council agreed.
Mayor Foster stated that there were mandates now for all employees of the Hospital to be vaccinated or they would be placed on unpaid leave.
Mayor Foster asked for ward reports.
Mr. Shoge stated that all was well in the First Ward.
Mr. Herz stated that he heard Santa will come to Town the day after Thanksgiving this year.
Mr. Herz stated that Mr. Bailey has raised the funding for a demonstration project and said that he hoped they would be in place in a short timeframe.
Mr. Herz stated that residents of Water Street have been approaching him about excess stormwater runoff in the neighborhood. Mr. Mike Smith was present to discuss the problems and shared photos of the area after a recent rain event. He said that this was not attributed to sea rise, high tides or living next to the river but a problem with stormwater management that comes with a good amount of trash when it happens. He said that he was looking for a commitment from the Town to remedy the flooding issue. Mr. Herz stated that he felt it was important to bring this to the Council as it seems to be happening more frequently.
Mr. Nathan Richards stated that there was a culvert pipe under High Street that he thought could not handle the volume and said that he would like to see this handled as an emergency issue as the residents can’t park on the street and the water is coming from upper High Street during minor rain events.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the first thing that should be done is to have the piping scoped throughout Town. Mr. Ingersoll stated that some of the Covid funding may be appropriately used to engineer long term remedies for the storm water and flooding problem.
Rev. Tolliver stated that there were two events scheduled for this week in his Ward. Walk MD is on Wednesday evening and begins at Shore Distributors and goes to the Fountain Park and a block party was scheduled for Saturday on the 400 Block of Calvert Street.
Ms. Efland stated that the Chestertown Rotary club was having a crab soup and wine tasting competition on Saturday, October 23rd from noon to 3 p.m.
Ms. Efland stated that Mr. Bailey was scheduling two separate walks for demonstration projects in College Heights on Wednesday, October 6th from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. or Saturday, October 16th from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. for anyone interested in attending.
Mayor Foster asked if there were any questions or comments from the audience.
Mr. Bogden stated that he thought the Recreation Commission will try to fundraise for the Ajax Park plan approved tonight.
Ms. Meghan White from Washington College SGA stated that the students are back to campus and stated that she would like to see the students become engaged in decision-making and for the Council to meet with student leaders.
There being no further business and no other questions or comments from the audience, Mr. Herz moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:45 p.m. was seconded by Ms. Efland and carried unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Jennifer Mulligan David Foster
Town Clerk Mayor