ShoreRivers is a regional nonprofit that serves as the voice for clean water on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. We write today regarding the matter of the zoning of 9155 American Legion Road on behalf of the property’s neighbor to the East, the Chester River. We strongly support the existing nonconforming use zoning and its continuance under the prospective buyer of this property, Minary’s Dream Alliance, Inc.
The leadership of Minary’s Dream is committed to three principles that directly align with ShoreRivers’ mission to protect and restore our waterways, as follows.
Restoration: Minary’s Dream reached out to ShoreRivers before making an offer on the property to begin a collaborative environmental stewardship plan. Conservation plantings and other restoration practices in the Critical Area will reduce stormwater pollution currently flowing into the river. We have also connected Minary’s Dream with resources to address and upgrade the septic system, and they are pursuing other environmental improvements including replacement of an oil tank and mold remediation. Reuse of an existing building by a group willing to put resources into its repair and maintenance is extraordinary and has far fewer negative impacts on the Chester River than would demolishing and rebuilding on site. Minary’s Dream has a clear vision of care for the property, and we are confident that they will be exemplary stewards of this important piece of our waterfront.
Education: Meaningful Watershed Education Experiences (MWEEs) throughout grade levels are a Maryland State graduation requirement. ShoreRivers leads classroom lessons, field experiences, community-focused action projects, and teacher professional development. Minary’s Dream is an enthusiastic partner in helping all of our County’s students meet their graduation requirements and reach their potential as engaged learners. ShoreRivers is also supporting Minary’s Dream in building a Youth Leadership Initiative to support young people in identifying and solving issues in their own community while networking with professionals across the county. The young people Minary’s Dream serves are this county’s future leaders.
Access: Both the Chesapeake Bay and the Chester have a public access deficit. We know that access to our waterways fuels stewardship, and our children cannot grow up to love a river they never see or touch. Minary’s Dream will provide an extraordinary opportunity for access to young visitors and event participants.
In sum, Minary’s Dream Alliance will contribute tremendously to the future of Kent County: a future in which young people have a connection to this place and a want to become its next generation of stewards; a future in which community bonds are strengthened by acts of compassion; a future of fishable and swimmable waters. As a community and a County, we should be doing everything in our power to support this tireless and visionary work: it is the kind of opportunity investment that will yield true and lasting rewards, including enhanced property values.
ShoreRivers is proud to partner with Minary’s Dream Alliance, and we look forward to continuing to work together for the benefit of our lands, rivers, and communities.
Annie Richards, Chester Riverkeeper
Isabel Junkin Hardesty, Executive Director