Chestertown sends 400 let­ters to Ho­gan seek­ing funds

The Star Democrat - - LOCAL - By PETER HECK pheck@thekent­coun­

CHESTERTOWN — At the Chestertown coun­cil meet­ing Mon­day, Oct. 17, Mayor Chris Cerino re­ported he had de­liv­ered more than 400 let­ters of sup­port to Gov. Larry Ho­gan’s of­fice for a re­quest to fund ren­o­va­tions to the Chestertown Ma­rina.

The town is seek­ing $1.5 mil­lion from the mis­cel­la­neous projects sec­tion of the gov­er­nor’s cap­i­tal bud­get to carry out the work, which Cerino said is now shov­el­ready.

Cerino said he de­liv­ered the let­ters to a lob­by­ist hired by the Chestertown Water­front Coali­tion, a group of busi­ness and non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tions sup­port­ing the ma­rina ren­o­va­tions and up­grade. He said the 350-odd or­ga­ni­za­tions in the coali­tion em­ploy more than 5,000 peo­ple in the county.

Cerino read from a cover let­ter in­cluded in the thick binder of let­ters sum­ma­riz­ing the rea­sons for the town ac­qui­si­tion of the ma­rina in 2012 and the steps the town has taken to­ward the com­ple­tion of the project. The list in­cludes ob­tain­ing fed­eral and state grants to dredge the ma­rina basin and to cre­ate stormwa­ter re­ten­tion el­e­ments on the land side.

The re­vi­tal­ized ma­rina is ex­pected to gen­er­ate be­tween $1.7 mil­lion and $2.2 mil­lion in di­rect spend­ing to the lo­cal econ­omy and to cre­ate more than 30 jobs in the town and the county, Cerino said. It also will sup­port events, such as Down­rig­ging Week­end, Tea Party Fes­ti­val and River­fest, that bring hun­dreds of thou­sands of tourist dol­lars to the lo­cal econ­omy, he said.

“I don’t know what more we could do to show sup­port” for the project, Cerino said.

He said the lob­by­ist will fol­low up with key leg­isla­tive and ad­min­is­tra­tive per­son­nel in An­napo­lis.

A de­ci­sion about the fund­ing prob­a­bly will be reached in De­cem­ber or Jan­uary, Cerino said, but the fi­nal vote in the Gen­eral As­sem­bly may not oc­cur un­til April. He said he prob­a­bly would need to tes­tify at hear­ings on the ap­pro­pri­a­tion.

Coun­cil­man Liz Gross asked if the lob­by­ist would coach Cerino on how to tes­tify.

Cerino said the lob­by­ist would pro­vide him with talk­ing points to help make his pre­sen­ta­tion ef­fec­tive. In Other Busi­ness: • The coun­cil ap­proved a re­quest to re­zone three prop­er­ties, two on Cromwell Clark Road and one on Tal­bot Boule­vard, as R-4 res­i­den­tial. The vote was 4-1, with Coun­cil­man Marty Stet­son op­posed. Stet­son said chang­ing the Tal­bot Boule­vard prop­erty from light in­dus­trial to res­i­den­tial

would de­prive the town of a po­ten­tial source of fu­ture busi­ness growth.

At­tor­ney Steve Mee­han, rep­re­sent­ing the prop­erty own­ers, said they hoped the re­zon­ing would im­prove the mar­ketabil­ity of the prop­er­ties. He said there is no de­vel­oper in­volved at present. He said any de­vel­op­ment would have to com­ply with Crit­i­cal Ar­eas reg­u­la­tions and re­for­esta­tion re­quire­ments.

Town Man­ager Bill Inger­soll said the re­cent an­nex­a­tion of the KRM prop­erty ad­ja­cent to the Wash­ing­ton Square shop­ping cen­ter brought in more light in­dus­trial prop­erty than would be lost by the re­zon­ing of the Tal­bot Boule­vard prop­erty. • Au­drey Utchen, presi

dent of the Wash­ing­ton Col­lege Stu­dent Gov­ern­ment As­so­ci­a­tion, up­dated the coun­cil on col­lege is­sues. She said the SGA is plan­ning a rail trail cleanup Nov. 5, with stu­dent and com­mu­nity vol­un­teers gath­er­ing at the Dixon Valve park­ing lot.

Cerino said last year’s cleanup was “a great job,” with more than 30 trash bags filled with de­bris from the trail. He said he would help co­or­di­nate the stu­dents’ ef­forts with the town street crew to make sure ev­ery­thing went smoothly.

Gross said she would tell res­i­dents at Heron Point about the cleanup and in­vite them to par­tic­i­pate.

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