Hurlock approves veterans memorial park
— Since its incorporation in 1892, Hurlock has never had a veterans memorial. But at the start of its 125th anniversar y year, the town council thanked those who have been spearheading the construction of a downtown veterans memorial park.
“(The memorial) is something we want and need,” Mayor Joyce Spratt said. “I’d like to dedicate it at the fall festival.”
At its regular meeting on Monday, Jan. 23, the full council thanked Frank and
Faye Fraley, who have served on the veterans memorial committee with Spratt and John Avery, the town administrator.
The design Frank Fraley is working on will be presented to the council and citizens at a future meeting. To make room for the memorial, a house at 208 Main St. is slated to be torn down by the end of April. The location is “bigger and better” than the original, smaller site near the train station, Fraley said after the meeting.
Flags for each of the five military service branches will fly, and a wall of honor and benches will be installed.
“We (also) have some surprises for the town that (citizens) won’t know about until they see it,” Fraley said.
Spratt said she didn’t realize 2017 is Hurlock’s 125th anniversary until Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot mentioned it during his visit to the town earlier that day.
During the public comments portion of the agenda, a discussion about business development created interest but concluded with no actionable proposals. Lee Davis stood and said, “I gotta question for the council. When are we gonna get something like a McDonald’s or a Food Lion?”
Davis expressed frustration that town residents were forced to take their business to more expensive convenience stores in town and said the town needed a “committee to go out and solicit businesses.”
“I took offense (at the suggestion) that we would talk negatively to businesses,” Spratt said. “We work diligently all the time to bring in new businesses.”
“I’m not here to start trouble,” Davis said. “But we need progress.”
A discussion ensued with Davis pressing his point that grocer y store chains in the South should be approached to establish a store in Hurlock, and that Councilmman Charles Cephas could approach business contacts he knew.
Without addressing Davis’s specific suggestion, Cephas said more businesses would attract more people to live in the community. “We need strategic planning,” he said.
One of the 15 meeting attendees said, “You’re putting the cart before the horse. You’ve got to get the population up, and then the stores will come.”
After more discussion, Spratt wound it up by saying, “We can’t depend on Dorchester County Economic Development (Office) to do it. We’ll have to do it ourselves.”
In his police report, Chief Les Hutton stressed the importance of residents policing themselves by locking up their vehicles. Thefts are on the rise, he said, because residents are leaving valuables in their cars and keys in the ignition, practices that are prompting people to commit “crimes of opportunity.”
“This is 2017; it isn’t the 1940s and 1950s,” Hutton said. “We as a community need to band together to try to prevent crime. It’s a team effort.”
Reporting for Hurlock Volunteer Fire Company, Councilman Jerry Rhue said there is interest in “getting together a cadet program going like East New Market.”
Spratt agreed. “It gives boys and girls something to do, and gets them off the streets and around good people,” she said.
Rhue reported that in 2016 the fire company had 272 fire calls, 798 hours in drills and 259 hours on standby. He said that more volunteers are needed on the ambulance.
A new downtown convenience store will hold its grand opening on Feb. 6. C& J’s Market has renovated the old gas station across from Mom and Pop’s Restaurant on Main Street. In a phone interview on Jan. 25, Avery said the building “has been completely gutted inside. They’ve done a wonderful job.”
Spratt reminded the council the next meeting on Feb. 13 will feature an audit report by TGM with a “short budget meeting.” She asked council members to consider a new pay scale for the police department because “we need to be competitive with other towns,” she said. “I’m big on retention.”
Spratt asked each council member “to sit down with Les (Hutton) and have him explain” the certification process for new police officers.
Hurlock American Legion Post 243 members salute during the 2014 Veterans Recognition Day in Cambridge.
Hurlock American Legion Post 243 members Frank and Faye Fraley were thanked for spearheading the design and construction of Hurlock’s downtown veterans memorial park. In the background are, from left, council members Russell Murphy, Jerry Rhue and Bonnie Franz and Mayor Joyce Spratt.