Chestertown Council Update: Parks, Hospice, Tea Party, and Marina

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Chestertown Town Council Meeting on May 7

The town of Chestertown has received a $138,000 Community Parks and Playgrounds grant to renovate Louisa Carpenter Park in the Washington Park neighborhood. Town Manager Bill Ingersoll announced the award at the May 7 meeting of the Mayor and Council.

The grant from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources will be used to refurbish the existing basketball half-court, to construct a walking path around the park, to add landscaping, and to install a small pavilion. The town added some benches, a swing set, and a horseshoe pit to the park last June.

Refurbishing the park has been a priority of the town’s Recreation Commission for a number of years. The town applied for a Parks and Playgrounds grant for the park a few years ago, but that application was unsuccessful. Mayor Chris Cerino said he thought it might have been rejected because the town had recently received a similar grant, which was used to renovate the Kent County Middle School playground.

Councilman Ellsworth Tolliver, whose ward includes Washington Park, said he grew up in the neighborhood and has fond memories of playing baseball in the park.

Children swinging and climbing on playground equipment in refurbished and renamed Louisa D. Carpenter Park in Washington Park neighborhood in Chestertown.

Louisa D’Andelot Carpenter, for whom the park was named last year, was a DuPont heiress and philanthropist whose projects included donating the land for Camp Fairlee, building the former bowling alley on Church Hill Road, and the creation of the Washington Park development, for which she donated the property and arranged funding so that low-income families to buy houses. She died in a private plane crash in 1976.

Heather Guerieri, executive director of Compass Regional Hospice

Also at the meeting, the council heard a report from Compass Regional Hospice about its recent addition of four beds, located on the third floor of the Chestertown hospital building. Heather Guerieri, executive director of Compass, gave the presentation. She said the facility, which is open 24 hours, seven days a week, has served 30 patients since its opening in March. While it has been consistently full, there are a few vacancies at the present. Opening a hospice branch in Kent County allows local patients to stay close to home, instead of going to Centreville where it may be more difficult for family members to visit them. However, she said, all the hospice’s facilities are open to patients from anywhere in its service region.Guerieri said that Compass will need $500,000 annually to run the Chestertown facility. It is working to raise some $350,000 through donations to fund the operation. For more information, visit www.compassregionalhospice.org or call 443-262-4100.

The council approved permits for the annual Chestertown Tea Party Festival. Tea Party Festival chair Sabine Harvey presented the request, which was approved unanimously. Harvey gave a preview of some of the attractions coming to this year’s festival, notably the Budweiser Clydesdales. Eight of the iconic draft horses will be attending the festival and marching in the parade. Following the parade, they will proceed down Water Street to Wilmer Park, where festival attendees will be able to visit them. Parking on Water Street between High Street and the park will be prohibited Saturday so the horses and their wagon can get through the narrow streets without incident. However, in the event of rain, the Clydesdales will not appear in the park.

Appearing in the parade for the first time will be members of the First Virginia Light Dragoons, a cavalry unit who will demonstrate sabre and lance tactics in Wilmer Park.

Sabine Harvey, Chair of Tea Party Festival

Harvey said the festival has added 37 new craft vendors, expanding the number by nearly one-third. However, she said, there will be two fewer food vendors than last year. Two of the non-profits that have served as food vendors in the past have asked to drop out because of a shortage of volunteers. Traditionally, all food at the festival is provided by local churches and other service and non-profit organizations. However, if the local non-profits are unable to meet the demand for food vendors, the policy may have to be reconsidered for future festivals. Harvey said that non-profits should contact the festival committee if they want to explore providing food for the festival.

The council also heard a request from John Plaskon of Crossroads Community for $2,000 to provide dental care to its clients, most of whom are on Medicaid or other insurance plans that do not provide dental plans. The council funded a similar request last year at the $500 level. Councilwoman Linda Kuiper said she had researched several plans that might provide dental care to Crossroads at a lower rate. She said she would forward the information to Plaskon.

In other business, Cerino nominated Jeffrey Coomer to fill a vacancy on the Historic District Commission, and James Bogden to fill a vacancy on the Recreation Commission. The council will vote on the nominations at the next meeting, May 21. Cerino said there may be other vacancies on the Recreation Commission; he is waiting to hear from the chair before soliciting nominations, he said.

Ingersoll reported on a bid opening for site work at the town-owned Chestertown Marina. The work consists of raising the grade of the parking lot and other marina grounds about two feet to mitigate tidal flooding. The low bid was presented by David A. Bramble Inc. at $1,117,000. The council voted unanimously to accept the bid.

Also, Ingersoll announced that there will be no parking on the 200 block of High Street Wednesday, May 9, to allow removal of several diseased London Plane trees. The work will begin at about 7:30 a.m. Parts of the sidewalk and the eastbound traffic lanes will be closed on High Street between Queen Street and Flow Salon. Workers will remove the “No Parking” signs as they complete each section of the work.

The council also heard a report from the Chestertown Environmental Committee on the possibility of installing charging stations for electric cars. A full report will appear in the Chestertown Spy later this week.

The meeting, which convened at 7:30 p.m., adjourned at approximately 9:00 p.m.

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Letters to Editor

  1. Brandt Troup says:

    Dear Editor

    When we made the first application, it was actually Gateway Park that had just been approved under the CPP program. The mayor brings up a good point in a roundabout way. Since 2012/13, the Town and CRC have drastically enhanced the Town’s green spaces. Gateway Park, Ajax, Carpenter, and KCMS are available to the public at large, or as neighborhood parks. The playscape at Wilmer appears to be a popular addition. Bailey Park remains largely a blank canvas, though Councilman Stetson and his group have built and maintained a popular dog park in that location. We have tried to bring in the youth soccer league, and previously presented a larger scale playground proposal to Mayor and Council, in order to convert it into more of an active use space. I encourage residents to contact their representatives, and have them revisit that plan during this term.

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