Town of­fi­cials dis­cuss Bay bridge into Kent County

Kent County News - - NEWS - By TR­ISH MCGEE pm­cgee@thekent­coun­tynews.com

CH­ESTER­TOWN — The pos­si­bil­ity of a Ch­e­sa­peake Bay bridge into Kent County, which drew a firestorm of protest at an in­for­ma­tional ses­sion Jan. 25, was a topic for dis­cus­sion Mon­day night at the meet­ing of the Ch­ester­town Mayor and Coun­cil. Fourth Ward Coun­cil­man Marty Stet­son said he fol­lowed the sug­ges­tion of pro­tes­tors and made a do­na­tion to the Kent Con­ser­va­tion and Preser­va­tion Al­liance, which is lead­ing the fight against a Bay cross­ing, and penned a let­ter to Heather Lowe, en­vi­ron­men­tal man­ager for the State High­way Ad­min­is­tra­tion. Stet­son told his col­leagues on the coun­cil that the let­ter rep­re­sented his per­sonal views and that he wrote on his per­sonal sta­tionery. Stet­son read aloud the let­ter he wrote on Jan. 28 and mailed the fol­low­ing day. He told Lowe that in his 10 years as an elected coun­cil­man he had never had a con­stituent ex­press to him that they were in fa­vor of a bridge cross­ing from the western shore into Kent County, “but many have ex­pressed their dis­fa­vor at such an idea that such a bridge might be built.” He cited con­stituents’ con­cerns about conges­tion, pol­lu­tion and crime and “that our pop­u­la­tion would grow ex­ten­sively” if a Bay bridge into Kent County was built. “Please do not force it upon a pop­u­la­tion that has no de­sire or need for such a bridge,” Stet­son said in end­ing his let­ter. Stet­son told his col­leagues that he did not see any ben­e­fit of a bridge to Kent County. “They’re just go­ing to pass through and do their shop­ping in Delaware or go to Ocean City to go to the ocean. I just can’t see any plusses.” “We have one of the few places in this coun­try that has re­mained kind of pris­tine and I think we should do ev­ery­thing we can to keep it that way. I feel very strongly about this,” Stet­son said. First Ward Coun­cil­man David Fos­ter said he also was per­son­ally op­posed to the Bay cross­ing. “There will be win­ners and losers,” he said, ac­knowl­edg­ing that there are eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties a new bridge would bring. For that rea­son, he was not in fa­vor of sum­mar­ily dis­miss­ing it. Fos­ter rec­om­mended that those who op­pose the bridge find other ways to bring eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment to the area. “We re­ally can’t be Can’t County. We can’t say ‘ no’ to ev­ery eco­nomic op­por­tu­nity,” he said. Third Ward Coun­cil­man Ellsworth Tol­liver said he has spo­ken to peo­ple in his com­mu­nity who sup­port a bridge if it would bring growth and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment to Ch­ester­town. He ac­knowl­edged the op­pos­ing view be­cause “we want to keep as much of Kent County in the state that it’s in, but the fu­ture is now. And hav­ing that (bridge) come this way could serve in a pos­i­tive way.” Tol­liver said he would not take a stand on the bridge is­sue un­til he had done more re­search. Mayor Chris Cerino and Sec­ond Ward Coun­cil­woman Linda Kuiper did not speak about the Bay cross­ing. When the floor was opened for pub­lic com­ment, Jeff Car­roll, owner of the Fish Whis­tle restau­rant, said he hoped to bring a Satur­day-Sun­day fish­ing tour­na­ment to Ch­ester­town in the fall. The plan is that this would be an an­nual event. It would be a tour­na­ment on a grand scale, with a pro­jected first-place purse of $10,000. Car­roll iden­ti­fied the Kent-Queen Anne’s Res­cue Squad, Hope Fel­low­ship’s ad­dic­tion/re­cov­ery pro- gram and the Sul­tana Ed­u­ca­tion Foun­da­tion’s schol­ar­ship pro­gram as the non­prof­its that would ben­e­fit. He said he would re­turn at the Feb. 20 meet­ing for a more thor­ough dis­cus­sion of his plans and to seek per­mits.

PHOTO BY TR­ISH MCGEE

At Mon­day’s coun­cil meet­ing, Ch­ester­town Coun­cil­man Marty Stet­son reads from a let­ter he sent to the State High­way Ad­min­is­tra­tion op­pos­ing a Ch­e­sa­peake Bay bridge cross­ing into Kent County. At right is Mayor Chris Cerino.

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