Talbot, towns talk about projects

The incorporated towns meeting was held Monday, July 8, at the Talbot County Community Center.

EASTON — Town and county officials discussed several projects during a Monday night meeting at the Talbot County Community Center.

Officials from the towns of Trappe, Easton, Oxford, St. Michaels and Queen Anne joined the Talbot County Council for the meeting.

Updates included the Frederick Douglass Park on the Tuckahoe, the Mews historical building, removal of St. Michaels sewer lines and development projects in Trappe.

Talbot County Economic Development and Tourism Director Cassandra Vanhooser gave the update on the Frederick Douglass Park on Tuckahoe and said they have released two requests for proposals.

“One is for a larger interpreted plan, a master plan that will lay out what will happen in this park in the future, because the story is going to drive what happens here,” Vanhooser said. “We put the interpretive plan and the master plan as one project. We had people apply from all over the country, largely from the mid-Atlantic Region, but we had some interest outside the region, as well.”

Vanhooser said they received nine proposals and will interview four candidates. A contractor also will be selected.

Vanhooser also gave an update on the proposal for a Frederick Douglass Rail Trail line, saying she and other county officials were contacted by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources about the possibility of developing a rail trail from the town of Easton through Cordova. She hopes one day to see a connection to Tuckahoe State Park.

Oxford Town Commissioner Gordon Graves gave an update on the Mews project, saying the new foundation has been poured. He said it has been a considerable improvement.

“The stabilization of the Mews building is in full swing with the funding assistance from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Strategic Demolition Fund,” Graves said. “Within the next two weeks, we will have this building down on the new foundation. Once the building is stabilized, it will be available for development.”

Graves also gave an update on Oxford Wastewater Treatment Plant upgrade and said that should be complete by the end of this year.

“Several of our roads are going to have to be repaved, once the project is in order,” Graves said.

Queen Anne Mayor Randy Esty said the town office finally is ready, and there will be a grand opening at noon Saturday, July 20.

“After many years, we have been saving money to pay for it,” Esty said. “It is something we are very proud of.”

St. Michaels Commission President Bill Boos talked about the new town hall, saying it is progressing rapidly in the development phase. St. Michaels also will recognize Harold Baines during National Night Out.

Talbot County Engineer Ray Clarke gave an update on county sewer work in St. Michaels, including the status of removal of sewer lines at the skate park. Clarke said the county’s funding recently was secured with $5.195 million that started a year and a half ago doing sewer work.

“We did work sewer under Bay Street. We currently have about a million dollars remaining in the budget,” Clarke said.

Trappe Commissioner Norm Fegel provided an update on the Lakeside development and the wastewater treatment plant.

“After more than 14 years, the Lakeside development project is slated to begin first of the year in January 2020,” Fegel said. “Originally, half of the project was suppose to be 55 and over — no more, it’s going to be all open. The first part of the project is going to be approximately over 70 houses and 300 apartments.”

Fegel said it’s going to have a separate wastewater treatment plant and it will have a 540,000 gallons per day discharge.

One of the overall topics addressed during the meeting was the lack of recruits for police officers, with incentives to increase the recruit numbers being discussed.

“I’m not sure how many of you have been affected. There are a couple of jurisdictions now that are offering $10,000 in incentive funds to join their department,” Easton Town Council President John Ford said. “It’s a crisis. It is not just Talbot County. It is all around the East Coast.”

The next incorporated towns meeting will take place Monday, Oct. 28, at the Talbot County Free Library in Easton.

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