Michael Miron, the ‘mayor’ of Eastport
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.