Chestertown sends 400 letters to Hogan seeking funds
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.