Michael Miron, the ‘mayor’ of East­port

Baltimore Sun - - OBITUARIES - — Chase Cook, Bal­ti­more Sun Media Group

Michael Fran­cis Miron, a pop­u­lar East­port res­i­dent who over­saw land­mark eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment ini­tia­tives in An­napo­lis, died Thurs­day af­ter a four-month bat­tle with lung can­cer. He was 71.

The Philadel­phia na­tive lived and worked in the An­napo­lis area for more than 40 years. He was ac­tive in the com­mu­nity and, through his work with the city, shaped the look and feel of An­napo­lis, said Shelley Row, his wife.

Projects he con­trib­uted to in­clude the found­ing of the An­napo­lis Mar­itime Mu­seum in East­port, the de­vel­op­ment of the res­i­den­tial and com­mer­cial area on West Street and ren­o­va­tions of the city’s Mar­ket House.

Mr. Miron worked with lo­cal or­ga­ni­za­tions and was gen­er­ous with his time and knowl­edge of his­tory. He was known as the “mayor” of East­port, said Jes­sica Pach­ler, a colum­nist for The Cap­i­tal and an East­port res­i­dent who knew Mr. Miron.

He was among the founders of the Mar­itime Repub­lic of East­port, a far­ci­cal group that cel­e­brates its in­de­pen­dence from the rest of An­napo­lis. In 1998, af­ter the or­ga­ni­za­tion “se­ceded” as a way to raise funds for char­ity, Mr. Miron and others marched into City Coun­cil cham­bers in step with trom­bone mu­sic to de­liver a chal­lenge for a tug-of-war to then Mayor Dean L. John­son.

East­port res­i­dents were to be on one side of Spa Creek — dubbed the Gulf of East­port — and An­napo­lis res­i­dents on the other. It has since be­come an an­nual event.

“Part of the rea­son why we are do­ing this is be­cause in Jan­uary and Fe­bru­ary, we sold flags and T-shirts com­mem­o­rat­ing the se­ces­sion and made $5,000 for char­i­ties in East­port. We thought we could do bet­ter, ’’ Mr. Miron said at the time.

Mr. Miron stud­ied eco­nomics at St. Leo’s Uni­ver­sity in Tampa and the Uni­ver­sity of Mary­land, Col­lege Park. He par­layed that ed­u­ca­tion into his ca­reer as owner of East­port Shell, lo­cated near the foot of the Spa Creek bridge, through 1998.

He also served on the An­napo­lis Plan­ning Com­mis­sion from1986 to 1992, then be­came the city’s eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment co­or­di­na­tor and man­ager from 2001 to 2010, first un­der Mayor Ellen Moyer and later for part of Mayor Josh Co­hen’s term. He re­tired in April 2010.

His time with the city came with ups and downs.

He over­saw de­vel­op­ment of 1901 West and Park Place projects on West Street; both in­clude a mix of res­i­den­tial, re­tail and of­fices. They ex­panded the city tax base, but strug­gled dur­ing the re­ces­sion and af­ter the ex­pan­sion of West­field An­napo­lis mall and the con­struc­tion of An­napo­lis Towne Cen­tre just out­side the city.

The city’s Mar­ket House was ren­o­vated and re­opened un­der Mr. Miron, who was in­volved in a failed ef­fort to lure a high-end gro­cer as the master ten­ant for the prop­erty. Af­ter Mar­ket House re­opened fol­low­ing drawn-out ren­o­va­tions, some res­i­dents and of­fi­cials crit­i­cized the project as hav­ing lost its lo­cal charm.

Mr. Miron played a role in the found­ing of the An­napo­lis Mar­itime Mu­seum by de­vel­op­ing a busi­ness plan to tran­si­tion the East­port His­tor­i­cal Com­mit­tee into the An­napo­lis Mar­itime Mu­seum. He also cre­ated ex­hibits for the mu­seum and worked on its dig­i­tal ar­chive of oral his­to­ries.

“He re­ally spent his en­ergy try­ing to make his com­mu­nity a bet­ter place,” said his wife. “He loved the com­mu­nity and that was his gift.”

A me­mo­rial ser­vice is be­ing planned at the mu­seum. De­tails have not been fi­nal­ized.

In ad­di­tion to his wife, he is sur­vived by a daugh­ter, Lin­nea Miron of Cal­i­for­nia, and broth­ers David Miron and Jerome Miron, both of Florida.

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