Mid-Shore Public Transportation: Shared Mobility Coming to Chestertown

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One of the best highlights of the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy’s recent conference on traffic and public transportation last week, and there were many, was the discovery that Washington College is very close to offering a shared mobility program in Chestertown.

Working with the New Jersey-based Greenspot, which offers mobility solutions using an electric charging station infrastructure,  the College’s Enactus team to develop what it’s hoped to be the first of many stations throughout the Mid-Shore.

Last week the Spy sat down with Greenspot’s Brett Muney, its locations development manager, for a brief introduction to the for-profit company and its plans with Washington College. The net result of which would bring an exciting new option in the region’s efforts to expand its public transportation capacity.

This video is approximately six minutes in length. For more information on the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy please go here

Land Conservancy’s Planning Conference to Focus on Regional Transportation Issues

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The Chesapeake Bay Bridge is a key artery that moves people and goods throughout the state, keeping Maryland’s heart pumping. Unfortunately, increased traffic has clogged that artery and continues to hurt Marylanders from the perspectives of business, quality of life, and more. From beach travelers to daily commuters, all would benefit from a suite of solutions reducing traffic congestion as soon as possible. Eastern Shore Land Conservancy (ESLC) believes that now is the time to have that conversation.

Held on Thursday, April 18th from 9am to 4pm and (fittingly) hosted at the Chesapeake Bay Beach Club with the bridge as a backdrop, ESLC’s 19th Annual Planning Conference – Congestion Ahead: Rerouting… – will stimulate conversation around ways to reduce traffic congestion today. Through interactive panel discussions and keynote speakers, guests will leave with a better understanding of this regional issue and the possible solutions for traffic congestion.

Tickets for the affair are $55 ($25 students) and are available for purchase at www.eslc.org. Attendees will be treated to a delicious, locally sourced buffet, as well as a mindfulness session entitled “Meditation for Road Rage Relief”, courtesy of Easton’s Ebbtide Wellness.

“We encourage planners, commuters, and any resident concerned about this pressing issue to not sit on the sidelines while decisions regarding the future of transportation affecting the Chesapeake Bay region are being decided,” says ESLC’s Director of Communications David Ferraris. “This is your opportunity to learn more about all of the traffic mitigation concepts on the table – from high-speed toll lanes and potential mass transit options to creating tech-friendly workspaces where commuters can work remotely – there are solutions that can be incorporated now and we intend to focus on them.”

Speakers and panelists include regional decision makers from organizations such as Maryland Department of Transportation, Maryland Department of Commerce, Maryland Transit Administration, American Farmland Trust, engineering/infrastructure firm AECOM, and others.

ESLC’s Darius Johnson Would Like Your Attention on Bay Bridge Traffic Solutions

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While the Mid-Shore has been fixated on issues related to a third Chesapeake Bay bridge possibly landing in their backyard, The Eastern Shore Land Conservancy’s Darius Johnson would politely suggest that the region turn its focus on the problems that exist now with bridge traffic and the real consequences for our communities along Route 50.

As the recently hired project director with ESLC, Johnson has been tasked with managing one of the organization’s oldest traditions; its annual planning conference, now in its 19th year. And the one day program, suitably named “ReRouting,” will place most of the attention on “here and now” traffic and transportation challenges.  How appropriate it that it will be held at the base of Chesapeake Bay Bridge to the The Chesapeake Bay Beach Club.

The Spy caught up with Darius at the Eastern Shore Conservation Center last week to chat about the conference.

This video is approximately two minutes in length. For more information about the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy’s ReRouting Conference on April 18 please go here.

 

 

 

 

Remembering Harry Hughes by Rob Etgen

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Harry Roe Hughes, two term Maryland Governor from the Eastern Shore, foremost champion of saving the Chesapeake Bay, and long-time Chairman of Eastern Shore Land Conservancy (ESLC), passed away comfortably at home last week after a long and very full life. Harry was a true statesman who had an incredible impact on Maryland, the Chesapeake Bay, the Eastern Shore, and all of us here at ESLC.

Just after Harry left the State House and his leadership role in stimulating the multi-state Bay cleanup, he was recruited to ESLC by his high school physics teacher – Howard Wood – one of ESLC’s Founders. Once on our Board Harry jumped right in and quickly started presiding at meetings, raising funds and shepherding me around the halls of government in Annapolis. Harry stayed active with ESLC in various roles even through his later years. During 2005, Harry and John Frece used the ESLC offices for the drafting of his autobiography, My Unexpected Journey.

Harry often loosened up ESLC crowds with stories of baseball and growing up in Denton when you could ramble unhindered across field and forest throughout Caroline County. He also took pride in his mischievous streak often telling about pushing his parent’s car out of the driveway and down the road before starting it to conceal nighttime joy rides. Many of his stories were prefaced by Harry saying he was killing time to avoid leading everyone in the ESLC fight song – “Don’t Bring In Sprawl” – which he hated singing.

My favorite Harry memory was in 1995 when he recruited the USDA Secretary to speak at ESLC’s annual gala in celebration of our proposed Security Corridor of protected farmland on the Eastern Shore. The morning of the sold out event at the Tidewater Inn the USDA Secretary was called out of the Country, and when I called Harry with the terrifying news, he simply said, “Let me see what I can do.” By that evening Harry had choreographed a speech by Maryland Agriculture and Natural Resources Secretaries and with Governor Glendenning on speakerphone that announced a major new State effort to protect our Corridor – and our crowd cheered! Now known as Maryland’s “Rural Legacy Program,” this initiative that Harry started that evening has now protected 920,694 acres of beautiful farmland and habitat. A nice day’s work!

Harry would often tell a joke about how someone in an elevator once asked him, “Didn’t you used to be Harry Hughes?” And his punch line was “Still am!” Truthfully, that joke is not that good, but when Harry told it, people roared with laughter. That was just Harry’s way – low key, comfortable, and lighthearted. We could use more of that today in our leaders.

Rob Etgen is the president of the East Shore Land Conservancy

ESLC’s Jim Bass Reports on Eastern Shore’s Preparedness for Rising Seas Levels

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Given the nature of things – literally – it won’t be surprising for the Eastern Shore to have several studies prepared in the decades ahead that record and evaluate the dangers facing its rural communities as sea levels continue to rise throughout the century.

With the Delmarva Peninsula being one of the country’s most vulnerable landscapes for flooding and erosion as the result of global warming, there is an ever growing concern on the part of local government staff, conservation organizations, agricultural associations, and state agencies on what is being done, and what could be done, to prepare the Shore for this extraordinarily dramatic shift in climate.

One of the first of these has just been prepared by the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy with a new study to assist local governments to plan for the impacts of sea level rise. Titled “Mainstreaming Sea Level Rise Preparedness in Local Planning and Policy on Maryland’s Eastern Shore,” the study is centered on sea level rise projections for the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries in the years 2050 and 2100.

This report was written on behalf of the Eastern Shore Climate Adaptation Partnership  – a regional workgroup of local government staff, partners from the State of Maryland, academic institutions, and nonprofits for that very reason.

The ESCAP assists communities in reducing climate vulnerabilities and risks; collects and shares information among communities and decision makers; and educates members, residents, and elected leaders on risks and adaptation strategies. It also serves to raise the visibility and voice of the Eastern Shore and rural regions in conversations about adaptation and resilience.

The Spy sat down last week with Jim Bass, ESLC’s Coastal Resilience Specialist, who helped manage the study, last week to find out what the significant takeaways were and what must be done in the future to protect and defend the Mid-Shore from this dangerous new future we face.

This video is approximately six minutes in length. For more information regarding this study, ESCAP, or ESLC’s coastal resilience program, please contact ESLC Coastal Resilience Specialist Jim Bass at jbass@eslc.org.The study is available to view and download at www.eslc.org/resilience.

Eastern Shore Land Conservancy Releases Comprehensive Sea Level Rise Study

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The Eastern Shore Land Conservancy (ESLC) has released a new report to assist local governments plan for the impacts of sea level rise. Titled “Mainstreaming Sea Level Rise Preparedness in Local Planning and Policy on Maryland’s Eastern Shore,” the report is centered on sea level rise projections for the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries in the years 2050 and 2100.

The report is available to view and download at www.eslc.org/resilience.

The sea level rise report was written on behalf of the Eastern Shore Climate Adaptation Partnership (ESCAP) – a regional workgroup of local government staff, partners from the State of Maryland, academic institutions, and nonprofits. The ESCAP assists communities in reducing climate vulnerabilities and risks; collects and shares information among communities and decision makers; and educates members, residents, and elected leaders on risks and adaptation strategies. It also serves to raise the visibility and voice of the Eastern Shore and rural regions in conversations about adaptation and resilience.

“This report is important for communities here on the Eastern Shore,” said Jim Bass, ESLC’s Coastal Resilience Specialist. “It describes hazards we need to adapt to, and it gives us a framework to plan for that adaptation.”

Mapping for the project was conducted by the Eastern Shore Regional GIS Cooperative (ESRGC) at Salisbury University. ESRGC developed maps to illustrate sea level rise and the impacts of flooding on Eastern Shore communities, including the estimated number of buildings flooded and the economic impact of flood damage.

The University of Maryland Environmental Finance Center used this information, along with best practices from communities nationwide, to develop recommendations for local governments to consider in their capital improvement planning. The goal of these recommendations is to keep tax-funded projects protected in the face of sea level rise.

Additionally, the Georgetown Climate Center used data from ESRGC, best practices, and stakeholder input to develop policy recommendations and model language for local governments to reference when rewriting codes and ordinances related to planned construction in floodplains and vulnerable coastal communities.

For more information regarding this study, ESCAP, or ESLC’s coastal resilience program, please contact ESLC Coastal Resilience Specialist Jim Bass at jbass@eslc.org or 410.690.4603 x156.

Eastern Shore Land Conservancy

Eastern Shore Land Conservancy (ESLC) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit land conservation organization committed to preserving and sustaining the vibrant communities of the Eastern Shore and the lands and waters that connect them. More at www.eslc.org.

ESLC Awarded Preservation Grant for Smokestack Repair at Phillips Packing House

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Eastern Shore Land Conservancy (ESLC) was recently awarded a $25,000 grant by the National Trust for Historic Preservation from The Bartus Trew Providence Preservation Fund. These grant funds will be used to help stabilize and repair the building’s iconic smokestacks.

Cross Street Partners, in partnership with Eastern Shore Land Conservancy (ESLC) will repurpose the 60,000 SF historic Phillips Packing House Building F as The Packing House – an active, mixed-use development designed to support the emerging industries related to the Eastern Shore’s famed farming and fisheries. The Packing House will house a synergistic mix of tech and creative entrepreneurs, food production and food related retail/eateries as well as a 2-story, light-filled open atrium space for continuous public programs and private events.

The Packing House will serve as a connection between the growing downtown revitalization in Cambridge and the well-traveled Route 50—Ocean Gateway to Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia beaches. The commercialization, research, production, and active retail uses will support local employment and inform nutrition and public health programming on the Eastern Shore.

Redeveloping this historically significant building as an entrepreneurial engine for the Cambridge community in a manner that celebrates Cambridge’s unique heritage preserves the legacy of the Phillips Packing Company. It is the last remaining factory from the Phillips Company’s empire of vegetable and food packing businesses, which once employed thousands of people in Cambridge. The company closed in the 1960’s, and the building has been deteriorating for decades.

“Organizations like ESLC help to ensure that communities and towns all across America retain their unique sense of place,” said Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “We are honored to provide a grant to ESLC, which will use the funds to help preserve an important piece of our shared national heritage.”

Grants from the National Trust Preservation Funds have provided over $15 million since 2003. These matching grants are awarded to nonprofit organizations and public agencies across the country to support wide-ranging activities including consultant services for rehabilitating buildings, technical assistance for tourism that promotes historic resources, and the development of materials for education and outreach campaigns.

For more information about The Packing House, please visit www.thepackinghousecambridge.com.

Preservation Group Announces Phillips Packing House a New Preservation Project

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As a part of Preservation Maryland’s strategic efforts to save threatened historic places, the organization recently announced its fourth class of Six-to-Fix projects from around the state. The Phillips Packing House revitalization project, spearheaded by Eastern Shore Land Conservancy and Baltimore’s Cross Street Partners, is among them.

The Eastern Shore Land Conservancy is tackling an ambitious project to rehabilitate and reuse the historic Phillips Packing Plant. Preservation Maryland will support the effort by identifying funding to support the critical repair of the iconic smokestacks and increasing public awareness of this important preservation project on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

Preservation Maryland will host a fundraiser known as Phoenix Rising in support of these projects and the organization’s work across the state on Thursday, October 25, 2018 at the Baltimore Museum of Industry, also the location of an on-going preservation partnership with the Museum to save the WWII crane on their property.

The Six-to-Fix program, which continues to evolve and expand since its launch in 2015, now represents a diverse portfolio of projects from around the state where Preservation Maryland has assisted in supporting efforts to preserve threatened historic resources. From cultural landscapes on Maryland’s Eastern Shore to a WWII-era crane in Baltimore’s harbor, the program has succeeded in advancing preservation at dozens of sites around the state.

Previous year’s projects are also quickly becoming a repository of best practices and case studies for community preservation – providing local preservation groups around the state with opportunities to learn from their peers. A complete list of all 24 previous and current projects is maintained at sixtofix.org.

Eastern Shore Land Conservancy

Eastern Shore Land Conservancy (ESLC) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit land conservation organization committed to preserving and sustaining the vibrant communities of the Eastern Shore and the lands and waters that connect them. More at www.eslc.org.

Save the Date: Eastern Shore Land Conservancy’s Party to Preserve Set for October 27

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Eastern Shore Land Conservancy (ESLC) has announced that its annual gala, Party to Preserve, will be held on Saturday, October 27th from 4pm to 7pm at Chateau Bu-De Vineyard & Winery, Bohemia Manor Farm. Located on the Bohemia River in Chesapeake City, the 440-acre farm is truly one of the most beautiful spots in Cecil County with simultaneous water and vineyard views. Tickets for the event can be purchased at www.eslc.org or by calling ESLC directly at 410.690.4603, ext. 0.

Chateau Bu-De Vineyard & Winery, Bohemia Manor Farm.

Keeping with tradition, the event will be held on an Eastern Shore property in one of six counties (Caroline, Cecil, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s, and Talbot) that has also been (at least partially) preserved under a conservation easement. Of interest to history buffs, the farm is also the historic property of Bohemian explorer, merchant, and cartographer Augustine Herrman, who hundreds of years ago produced a map of the Chesapeake Bay and Delaware Bay in exchange for permission to establish the plantation. The remains of his original structure still stands in close proximity to the winery.

ESLC will also be celebrating and educating attendees about its newest initiative during the event. A Delmarva Oasis is the Conservancy’s most comprehensive initiative in its 28-year existence with a goal of protecting 50% of the Delmarva Peninsula by 2030. The proposal, which seeks to include the support and partnership of multiple conservation-based organizations and the local governments of three states, is a beginning of a discussion about the end game for conservation.

Party to Preserve ticket sales are already underway and selling steadily. Guests will enjoy sunset views over the Bohemia River and groove to the “straight-ahead, uncompromising cocktail music” of the Van Williamson Trio. Of course, the wine will be plentiful as will the delicious, locally sourced cuisine. ESLC will have shuttle service available for guests with pickup and drop-off in Easton and Chestertown.

Event sponsorships opportunities are still available. Please contact ESLC’s Manager of Outreach & Engagement, Julia Babbitt Williams, at jbabbitt@eslc.org or 410.690.4603 x171.

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