Chestertown is about to receive a wonderful gift. It won’t cost the citizens a thing, and in fact everyone will benefit many times over.
A contaminated site is about to become clean and beautiful.
Rather than condominiums, townhouses, and apartments that would have maximized profits, college facilities and open space will prevail.
An attractive Boathouse and even a Center for the Environment will eventually grow from the ground.
A public Riverwalk will emerge.
Chestertown will have a beautiful waterfront Gateway.
Like most things, this didn’t happen by accident.
KRM (former owner) could have developed this property any time in the last 15 years and it would have been gone forever.
It chose not to.
KRM could have sold it to developers who would have developed it.
It chose not to.
Washington College has coveted this property (adjacent to our current waterfront) for many years.
Roy Kirby knew the College wanted and needed this property.
Roy and KRM came to the mutual conclusion that the best interests of the College and Chestertown were for the College to acquire this property.
It was not the most lucrative conclusion for either party.
KRM sold the entire property (Stepne & the waterfront) to Roy because Roy made the commitment that he would split the property and ensure the College’s position.
Roy has sold the most valuable piece of Chestertown waterfront property to Washington College for more than $3million less than the current appraised value.
He could have developed it.
He chose not to.
The College has committed to clean up the site, beyond what federal and state laws require it to do.
With Chairman Ed Nordberg’s careful leadership, the College has been involved in this process for over two years, and is well aware of all information regarding contamination and clean-up options.
The best available professionals have been secured, and using modern testing procedures they have investigated all possibilities.
The most current EPA and MDE standards have been and will continue to be met.
The College is fortunate to have the resources to enlist the best expertise available.
It will not happen overnight, but in the coming years the citizens of Chestertown will see a sick piece of land along the river come to life.
In the not-too-distant future Chestertown will enjoy a new treasure along the Chester.
Something to celebrate.
Bryan Matthews is Director of Athletics and Associate Vice President for Administrative Services for Washington College.