At the Chestertown Council meeting, Sept. 16, Kay MacIntosh of Main Street Chestertown announced that the town has applied to become an affiliate in the Keep America Beautiful program, a national volunteer-based organization that works to involve individuals in improving their communities’ environments.
In a news release distributed at the meeting, MacIntosh said that Keep Chestertown Beautiful will be a new committee under the Main Street Chestertown umbrella, but will have access to the resources and funding of the national organization. She said the program is being promoted by Main Street Maryland, and that Chestertown received a grant from the state organization to cover the town’s $1,000 application fee. The fee has already been paid, she added.
MacIntosh also said that the Keep Chestertown Beautiful organization will be embarking on two activities as part of its application. One is the creation of a “community appearance index,” which will be compiled by groups of volunteers who visit six districts and rate them in terms of visible litter, graffiti, abandoned cars, and similar criteria. “That gives us a baseline, and we’re supposed to come back every year and look at them again, to see if there have been any improvements,” she said. She said the survey would focus on the downtown area, but would extend a bit beyond it – “we are going to go up the rail trail to the roundabout and also drive up High Street to the roundabout, to see whether there is any area of need,” she said,
The second research project related to the application is compiling a summary of the assets already in the community, looking at litter and waste reduction, recycling and beautification efforts such as plantings. MacIntosh said it would be an opportunity to identify which agencies and town departments are working to maintain and improve the town’s appearance, and to encourage cooperation among them.
Mayor Chris Cerino asked whether plantings would include street trees. “It’s something we’d look into,” MacIntosh said, adding that it would depend on funding. She said she had recently had a conversation with Carolyn Grotsky of Curb Appeal about three empty tree wells on High Street.
Councilwoman Linda Kuiper asked whether the town had any money for planting trees. MacIntosh said there is no grant money for that purpose at present, but that it might become available once the town is an affiliate of Keep America Beautiful.
Kuiper asked what the process would be if the survey found an abandoned mattress on a street corner. “Do you contact your resources within the town to come pick it up?” she asked. MacIntosh said that question would be part of the group’s research to determine what’s appropriate. She said she would share the group’s reports with the council when they are done.
In addition to Main Street Chestertown, the town’s Environmental Committee, the Chestertown Garden Club, and the Curb Appeal Committee of the Downtown Chestertown Association have been working to launch the initiative. The group will be chaired by David Sobers and the vice-chair will be Barbara Slocum. Anyone interested in volunteering should contact MacIntosh at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 410-778-2991.
In other business, the council reappointed Cheryl Hoopes, Loretta Lodge and Bob Ortiz to the town’s Board of Supervisors of Elections.
The council also reappointed Ed Minch and Alice Ritchie to three-year terms on the Historic District Commission.
Three members of the Recreation Commission were reappointed by the council. Amy Meeks, Brandt Troup, and Emily Welsh will return to the commission. Also, Cerino nominated Dan Divilio and Emily Genther for positions on the Recreation Commission; the council will vote on the nominations at its next meeting.
Cerino said that the town is seeking members to fill vacancies the Ethics Commission and the Planning Commission. Anyone interested should contact town hall for more information.
Lt. John Dolgos of the Chestertown Police Department delivered his first monthly report as acting Chief. During the month of August, the department made 13 adult arrests on 20 separate charges. There were no arrests of juveniles, defined as anyone under age 18. Officers issued 49 motor vehicle citations and 223 warnings. The Red Speed cameras on Morgnec Road issued 320 speeding citations.
Also at the meeting, the council approved permits for a RiverArts Clay Studio outdoor clay firing demonstration Nov. 9, to be held at the junction of Court Street and Memorial Plaza; for the HP Festival Wizarding Weekend, Oct. 4-5; and for the annual Halloween parade, Nov. 2.
At the end of the meeting, the council conducted a closed session at the request of Councilman Marty Stetson. The stated purpose of the session was to discuss a personnel matter.