Possible Waterfront Property Purchase: City Council Recap
Read the news as we live blogged it from City Hall.
Two recreational destinations may be in store for citizens of Havre de Grace, based on discussion at the Feb. 4 City Council meeting.
Joe Conaway of Public Works and John Allen delivered a virtual tour of Citizens Park, a proposed recreational spot behind Citizens Care where residents from The Graw, Citizens Care and St. John's Towers could exercise.
The second park proposal involved a $1.29 million purchase of land next to Concord Point Lighthouse where the city could extend the Promenade and expand public waterfront access.
Read complete coverage of the meeting below.
9:14 p.m. The meeting adjourned.
9 p.m. Council President Randy Craig, whose wife is a 49ers fan, said that he did not want to comment on the Super Bowl. Councilman Bill Martin encouraged the public to visit the War of 1812 exhibit at the Visitors Center, which he said would make people "sit there and stare for hours." Councilman David Glenn said he attended last week's Board of Education meeting and it was a message of "doom and gloom," in which the reduction of staff and programs plus possibly school closures were on the table. He said in that context, a new high school "may be an uphill battle" but "you've got my commitment; I'm not going to give up." Councilman John Correri said the city lost another dedicated member in Diane Ford. Councilwoman Barbara Wagner mentioned the community garden program is expanding and mid-February is the time to get seeds going. Councilman Joe Smith said he would keep his report short since everyone was up watching the Ravens. The mayor tipped his hat to the Baltimore Ravens and especially Ray Rice.
8:40 p.m. Chief of Police Teresa Walter reminded citizens that next Tuesday is Fat Tuesday, when the city of Havre de Grace is hosting a Mardi Gras parade. "I ask that you use caution because it is at night so be careful crossing the street," Walter said. "Please pay attention ... [and] follow directions if officers ask" that people stay on sidewalks, etc.
8:39 p.m. Larry Parks, director of public works, thanked Joe Conaway and John Allen for their "impressive demonstration" of the park proposed behind Citizens Care.
8:38 p.m. George DeHority, director of finance, said that assessments from the state were a little delayed.
8:24 p.m. Council President Randy Craig brought up the idea of purchasing land on 701 Concord Street, just north of the Concord Point Lighthouse. It will be up to voters to determine in May whether the city should buy the property.
"What we've received is a purchase offer," Paul Ishak, the city attorney, explained. "The parcel is the waterfront property just north of the lighthouse ... bounded by the north side of Lafayette Street, the east side of Concord Street and ... Alliance Street." The sellers offered the property for $1.29 million, Ishak said. It would require $40,000 this fiscal year and the remainder could be paid for by bond or note with 4 percent interest, Ishak added.
"Our charter requires if this offer is accepted [by the City Council] that it be approved by the city voters, and the most appropriate time to do that is at the city election in May," Ishak said. "So if you vote to approve this purchase offer, you are approving the decision to go to the city voters," he explained to the council. "If the voters approve of this in the May election, the city could obtain possession of the property as early as July 1, 2013" or as late as January 2014.
8:20 p.m. Council approved several special events: War of 1812 Re-enactment, Pirate Fest 5K run, sixth annual Pirate Gala and the 41st annual Candlelight Tour. Council President Randy Craig mentioned that the "no parking" signs had been up a few days before the candlelight tour, when visitors were trying to find parking for the holiday parade; as a result, the setup time for the signs was adjusted and "no parking" signs will go up Saturday instead of Friday along Union Avenue.
8:18 p.m. Council reappointed John Narvell to the Marina Commission and Carolyn Wuyts to the Arts Commission.
8:01 p.m. On behalf of the Department of Public Works, Joe Conaway and John Allen brought up the idea of creating a park behind Citizens Care nursing home. They delivered a presentation complete with a soundtrack of birds chirping against the backdrop of a virtual tour of the walkways and exercise stations that would be part of Citizens Park. "I think this is going to turn out to be a destination that's going to generate a lot of interest," said Mrs. Slack, a citizen in the audience whom the mayor credited with the idea of the park. "If we all build exercise into our daily lives, we're all going to be better for it," Slack said. Mayor Wayne Dougherty said in the next two meetings, he would discuss options for funding. He said he would not announce how much the cost would be. "We've identified some funding sources and it's a very doable project that I would like to see started by the middle of March," Dougherty said.
7:55 p.m. Principal Jim Reynolds delivered what he described as "very good news" about initiatives at Havre de Grace High School. Reynolds said the school would be adding two new advanced placement (AP) courses next year—AP French and AP physics—on top of the 11 AP courses currently in its curriculum; next year, the high school will start a biomedical signature program that is "not a magnet program," Reynolds said, but one exclusively for students of Havre de Grace High School; and a partnership with Verizon is developing that will help students learn communications skills for the workplace.
7:42 p.m. Mayor Wayne Dougherty, County Executive David Craig, County Councilwoman Mary Ann Lisanti and City Council President Randy Craig recognized Patricia Fair, chair of the Havre de Grace Arts Commission, and Carolyn Foley, vice chairperson for arts and entertainment programs in Havre de Grace, for their service.
7:21 p.m. Natassia Smith was recognized as student of the month for Havre de Grace High School. Smith is working on her fifth and sixth credits in mathematics. She is earning As in AP calculus and statistics. She plans to major in biomedical science engineering.
7:14 p.m. Andrew Steckler of Havre de Grace Elementary was recognized for being student of the month. "I can always count on Andrew," his teacher said of the fifth grader. Mayor Wayne Dougherty said Steckler "goes above and beyond his work, is helpful to his fellow classmates, was elected by his classmates to serve as tribe leader" and participates in orchestra, chorus and card collecting.
7:07 p.m. Xavier Whiting of Meaowdvale Elementary was recognized for being student of the month. His fourth grade teacher said he was one of the students she would like to clone because he is such an upstanding citizen. Mayor Wayne Dougherty presented Whiting with a recognition for being a role model, noting Whiting's participation in chorus, band, recreational football and basketball, youth ministry and choir.
7 p.m. Mayor Wayne Dougherty called the meeting to order. Reverend Cordell Hunter of AME Church delivered the opening prayer. After the mayor made a motion to approve the minutes from the previous meeting, Councilwoman Barbara Wagner noted a spelling correction, which the council moved to incorporate and approve.
The Havre de Grace City Council is meeting Monday, Feb. 4. Patch is live blogging the event from City Hall starting at 7 p.m.
Until then, check out the meeting agenda, which includes a presentation about Havre de Grace High School initiatives, among other items.