East New Market takes part in Project Clean Stream

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EAST NEW MARKET — According to East New Market Mayor Caroline Cline Project Clean Stream on April 11 was a unique event. The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay sponsored its 12th Annual Project Clean Stream in Maryland and states adjoining the Bay and East New Market participated. At the April 14 council meeting, Mayor Caroline Cline said it was a “lovely experience,” particularly meeting the eight volunteers from AmeriCorps who joined members of Dorchester Citizens for Planned Growth, Mayor Cline, resident Gary Blackstock and Public Works Director Gordon Heck.

Twenty-one people collected trash from ditches around the town area. “It was quite an effort,” said the Mayor, “and an amazing amount of trash.” The county is in the process of foreclosing on several properties, one of which concerns East New Market residents. During the recent town meeting Dorchester County Councilman Rick Price said he had spoken with the county public works director and the county finance officer about who is responsible for maintaining grounds of a foreclosed property. The property in question in still in the process, however, and is not yet county-owned.

The Mayor asked, “If the county forecloses on a property and they become the owner of record then who is responsible for taking care of the property?” She said grass cutting season has begun and town officials need to know who will cut the grass of a property still in the foreclosure process. “Is it us? Some citizens in town are concerned about this.”

Mr. Price said that once the foreclosure process is completed the county public works department is responsible. Commissioner Mary Dennard-Turner asked, “Who’s going to keep it clean and keep the grass cut until the county takes over?” “And,” sked the Mayor, “Who pays for grass cutting in the interim? It’s a burden for us when we’re not the owner of record, but we want to be responsive to citizens next to the property.” Mr. Price promised to follow up and return with answers.

Beverly Estates was awarded the town’s grass cutting contract with a bid of $290 per cut including trimming and mulching bushes on the grounds of the senior apartments. According to Clerk/Treasurer Patty Kiss, the grass is cut weekly from April to September depending on weather conditions.

As per the minutes from the March 10 meeting, the council selected Paradise Lawn Care to construct the planned walking trail in Friendship Park. The company’s proposal was sent to the State Highway Administration (SHA) as required by a grant’s Memorandum of Understanding. Grant writer Valerie Mann has been working closely with SHA “trying to get everything straight,” said Ms. Cline. “We asked for an extension just in case we couldn’t get everything done.” But, she did not believe there was also an extension request for the bidding process only for the projected completion date.

Ms. Cline noted “there is some forward effort” on the part of the state to proceed with the renovation of the Depot train station that was acquired by the town based on promises from SHA that a grant would pay for the project. Public Works Manager Gordon Heck is working with “a new staff person at SHA” who requested information on the type of heating system to be used at the train station.

Mayor Cline said it was understood from the beginning of the project that “each update or improvement was to be very much in the authentic mode.” She described heating with a coal stove replica utilizing electric elements.

On May 12, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. in the Municipal Building town voters can cast ballots for a mayor and two commissioners. Mayor Cline, Commissioners Cindy Merrick and Ms. Dennard-Turner are running for re-election. According to Election Chief Judge Christine Zeller, residents may obtain absentee ballots from her if they are unable to get to the poll. The mayor emphasized that voting is important even if there are few candidates.

Susan Bautz is a freelance writer for the Dorchester Banner.

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