ENM council tangles with overgrown ditch problems

Dorchester Bannere/Susan M. Bautz The East New Market train depot continues to await its transformation. Funds for the project were approved but are pending the establishment of a joint account between grantors SHA (State Highway Administration) and MHT (Maryland Historical Trust).

Dorchester Bannere/Susan M. Bautz
The East New Market train depot continues to await its transformation. Funds for the project were approved but are pending the establishment of a joint account between grantors SHA (State Highway Administration) and MHT (Maryland Historical Trust).

Scout troop offers to adopt Gov. Hicks cemetery

EAST NEW MARKET — East New Market Vice Mayor David Tolley reported at the Sept. 13 commission meeting that he reviewed the town’s ongoing overgrown ditch problems with Soil Conservation engineer John Willey. Mr. Willey gave the vice mayor information from the most recent survey which is 15 years old.

Mr. Willey said his department has “put it on the front burner and will be doing a new survey very quickly.” The new survey will show the various drainage and run-off routes when the town experiences a heavy rainfall. “We’ll probably do it in stages and get the most important parts first,” said Mr. Tolley.

Mayor Caroline Cline said the town would like as much help from the county as possible with the ditching project. She noted that Councilman Rick Price suggested the town draft an explanatory letter to County Manager Jeremy Goldman about the project and the town’s pressing need for a solution.

Councilman Price reported he spoke with Tom Moore, director of public works, about the problem and learned that tall weeds and saplings in the ditch were cut last year but the first 100’ are silted in. Mr. Moore pointed out that the adjacent land is tilled without buffers and suggested cleaning the first 300’ of the ditch bottom to remove the silt from the run off.

Resident Gary Blackstock, whose property abuts part of the ditch system, said last year the county used a bushhog but did not remove the silt. He said, “That’s a dam back there. The whole thing needs to be done. What they did last year was great and it only took one day. But it’s grown back and needs to be done again and dug out.”

Mayor Cline asked when action could be expected and the commissioner responded the timeline is “maybe in two weeks.” The mayor responded, “I think it’s important that we emphasize the entirety” of the ditch problem and not just the visible part that abuts Creamery Road.

North Dorchester scout Al Flaggs updated the commission about his journey to complete his Eagle Scout requirements. His approved projects include the design and construction of two benches for the new Friendship Park walking trail and a perennial herb garden at the Trading Post town museum.

Al added that Scoutmaster Pete Corkran said “we would adopt the cemetery. I looked up deeds and it said that there is an easement and right of way for maintenance personnel and the family descendants of Gov. Hicks to visit the family burial grounds located on the property.” The cemetery is adjacent to Friendship Hall property but technically does not belong to the Hall owners or the town. It is deeded to descendants of Maryland’s Civil War Gov. Thomas Hicks. Mayor Cline noted it has not “been taken care of for many years.”

Al’s mother, veterinarian Dr. Donna Flaggs, explained, “The troop is willing to adopt the care and maintenance of it twice a year. Alan is going to get the ball rolling and he found in several deeds that” there are provisions for entry by maintenance personnel, the family, and utilities. She added that family members have been gone for 200 years and “the town’s boy scout troop is willing to take care of the cemetery.”

Ms. Cline said “the town owns the plot that leads up to it as part of the original purchase from the previous owners. We would be delighted to have you cross that to get to the cemetery.”

The scout will provide sketches of the herb beds and benches plus their locations. Mr. Tolley agreed a sketch is advisable to answer any possible questions about the project.

At a previous meeting the commission unanimously voted to craft a parking ordinance to prohibit lengthy or overnight street parking. The ordinance was introduced at the Sept. 13 meeting and will be advertised and become final 40 days after adoption. The provisions are intended to forestall overnight parking on town streets via regulation using traffic control and restriction signs. Three consecutive hours are allowed but no overnight of any kind where restrictions are imposed. When convicted, violators will be guilty of a misdemeanor. The penalties are outlined in the Annotated Code of MD. For violations there will first be a warning, then a citation, and finally vehicles will be impounded. A fine of $100 will be payable within 30 days to the town in lieu of impounding or towing. Convictions can be appealed to the District Court of Maryland.

The mayor said there are two major reasons for not having a lot of on-street parking. One is because of emergency vehicles. Secondly, she said, “this is a national historic district and it does not add to the ambience of the town.”

In an update on funds for renovations of the town’s railroad depot, Ms. Cline said, “The last account we were given about the train station from Ann Bruder of Maryland Historical Trust (MHT) was they are still setting up the account with the State Highway Administration (SHA).” The mayor jokingly noted, “It must be some sort of off-shore account.”

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