Hurlock residents urge council for chain grocery store

Dorchester Banner/Susan M. Bautz Hurlock resident Ken Walton addresses the town council about the Sept. 18 Out of the Darkness Suicide Prevention Walk and fundraiser and Town Administrator John Avery (seated) listens.

Dorchester Banner/Susan M. Bautz
Hurlock resident Ken Walton addresses the town council about the Sept. 18 Out of the Darkness Suicide Prevention Walk and fundraiser and Town Administrator John Avery (seated) listens.


HURLOCK — In her report during the Aug. 22, Town Council meeting Hurlock Mayor Joyce Spratt followed up on a discussion during public comments at the Aug. 8 council meeting where some residents urged the council to bring a chain grocery store to the area. The Mayor said she spoke with John Camp, principal in Oxford-Chase Development Corp., who was part of an effort several years ago to bring Food Lion to town and led a recent unsuccessful attempt to build a Dollar General store on Main Street.

Ms. Spratt said Mr. Camp told her that Hurlock is “sitting in the wrong place” with grocery stores in Federalsburg, Cambridge, and Seaford. “At this point he can’t help us. But, there are other avenues we can pursue to see what else we can do.”

Nancy Andrews, executive director of Habitat for Humanity and board president Greg Whitten told Mayor Spratt they would like more people to “get involved” in building the group’s first Hurlock home. Construction is progressing at 308 Charles St. and occupancy is anticipated for Spring, 2017. The Mayor responded by asking for volunteers. Amick will participate and “is all in,” she said. The council unanimously passed tax abatement on the property until the new owner moves into the home.

Town Administrator John Avery reported the water main replacement project is nearly complete. Councilman Jerry Rhue asked Mr. Avery why certain sections of the sidewalks have not been replaced. Administrator Avery explained that the ramp into Mom & Pop’s restaurant “is not ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant” and therefore the state cannot replace it. Mr. Avery said he is asking the state to replace part of the curb and the town will power wash in front of the restaurant. The costs of any sidewalk installations other than those contracted for are the property owner’s responsibility.

With the Fall Festival looming and visitors eager for the annual train rides to Federalsburg, the town must ensure the safety of the town-owned railroad cars. Mr. Avery said that until three years ago a certified inspector performed annual check-ups on the brakes and approved the maintenance. He noted, “They have since quit doing that and we found a certified man from near Glen Burnie to do the inspections.” The brake valves from one of the cars were exchanged for rebuilt valves and town personnel will reconstruct the brakes after which the cars will be inspected.

Demolishing four houses and refurbishing town parks using a Community Development Block Grant will be put on hold for a little while. Mr. Avery said the response from the Historic District Commission on its review of the grant request and their comments will delay the funding. According to Mr. Avery a downtown historic district was created which means the commission must review and comment on the requested grant. “It does take a long time,” he said, and noted it required four years to re-do the railroad crossings. “Things don’t just happen overnight.”

Ken and Christine Walton, founders of the 1st annual Hurlock “Out of the Darkness” walk slated for Sept. 18, 2 pm, discussed the event. These walks in the fall are the signature fundraisers for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and draw nearly 250,000 walkers in 360 cities across the country. Now Hurlock is one. The Waltons tragically lost a son to suicide in February 2015 and they are the driving force in bringing resources and information about suicide prevention to Dorchester County.

Mr. Walton said, “Everything is going very well with plans for the Sept. 18 walk. Local caterers “Two Chicks” will provide the food and donate their proceeds to the cause.
Registrtion is at 2 p.m. and the walk will begin at 3 p.m. after which participants will have dinner, take chances for door prizes, and bid at a silent auction. He said he was at the town meeting to “Ask you to help me save someone’s life from suicide.”

Plans for next year include the creation of a board of directors to help with all the various parts of the project. It takes six months to “get this thing to happen,” said Mr. Walton. The myriad of details can be overwhelming and the Waltons would like more planning help. Donations pay for flyers and brochures to be available in various locations, like fire departments, where those who may contemplate suicide have a chance to find help or rethink their decision. Mr. Walton said, “I feel truly if my son had come across a flyer or brochure in a firehouse or somewhere he would be alive … We had no clue that Kenny was going to shoot himself. We’ve got to save somebody else because we don’t know who the next person will be.”

According to the AFSP, Out of the Darkness community walks “raise awareness about suicide and depression, raise money for research and education to prevent suicide from taking place, and provide assistance and a safe outlet for survivors of suicide.”

All donations will be done on line and go directly to the AFSP. For more information and to register for the event, visit the Facebook page “Dorchester County Out of the Darkness Walk;” website afsp.org; or contact the town office.

Susan Bautz is a freelance writer for the Dorchester Banner.

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