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HdG to study traffic issues in Grace Manor community

The Havre de Grace City Council is trying to deal with traffic issues in the Grace Manor area.

At their meeting Monday night, council members approved the creation of a sub-committee to address street and traffic safety issues around the neighborhood, specifically obtaining additional access for Bayview Estates and Bulle Rock, opening Camilla Street to Ontario Street and modifying conditions along Ohio Street and Grace Manor Drive, Joe Hill Drive and Lewis Lane.

Councilman Joe Smith was the only one to vote against the resolution, expressing concern about the need for yet another committee.

Councilman David Glenn said the city needs to make sure a solution does not affect other members of the community, such as the Susquehanna Hose Company and Havre de Grace Ambulance Corps.

"It's evident we have an issue and we have a problem and something needs to be done," Glenn said. "It's not just a Grace Manor/Lewis Lane issue, it's a community issue."

Randy Craig said: "I think this committee is an excellent idea. For me, it's more a question of focus."

Tax rate

The council unanimously approved a real property tax rate of 58 cents per $100 of assessed value, a personal property tax rate of $1.705 and an additional real property tax rate of $0.044 in the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area taxing district (which affects land within 1,000 feet of tidewater).

The tax rates are unchanged from last year.

Ernest Burke

Camay Murphy, of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum of Maryland, said she hopes to build a memorial to Ernest Burke, a Negro League baseball player who was born in Havre de Grace, as a "permanent salute" to him.

"His memorabilia resides in the Babe Ruth Museum [in Baltimore] and the stadium museum in Aberdeen, and there is nothing to commemorate him here in Havre de Grace," she said.

The proposal would feature a stainless steel bat, ball and replica home plate with an image of Burke on it, to be designed by Harford Business Industries.

She said the item could be made and placed for about $5,000 and asked the council to approve the formation of a committee to raise money for the project, recommend a site and develop a timeline for opening the site.

She also suggested a committee to help build the memorial, including herself, Allen Fair, Bobby Parker, Audrey Simmons of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum of Maryland, and several others.

War of 1812

The council heard a project proposal from tourism manager Brigitte Peters on a War of 1812 community project to recognize the war's bicentennial.

The project has $365,000 in grant funding, Peters said.

It will include a scale model of the city and Upper Bay, which is being made in the Visitors Center, and developing an archive database, as well as a curriculum for classes in Havre de Grace with costumed interpreters and wayside signs with war-related information.

Resolutions

The council discussed several resolutions, including one to create a War of 1812 bicentennial committee, which drew a handful of amendments.

Smith suggested adding the library after Bill Martin suggested additional agencies.

Ultimately, the committee was set to include representatives from tourism, economic development, historic preservation, arts, the Lock House Museum, Friends of Concord Point Lighthouse, the Decoy Museum, the Maritime Museum, the Fourth of July committee, Havre de Grace Main Street, the Chamber of Commerce, city staff, the American Legion, the VFW, the Martha Lewis Museum and the library.

A third resolution authorizes the city to acquire a portion of Old Bay Lane from the state, to confirm that a prior ineffective and unrecorded deed is void.

The council introduced bills concerning backflow protection to the city water supply and one amending the city's zoning code on the mixed-office/employment center.

Appointments

Former council members Fred Cullum and Jim Miller were also at the meeting, and Cullum was re-appointed to the water and sewer commission.

Craig thanked him for continuing to serve the city.

Dougherty said: "Before the election even took place, Mr. Cullum and I met privately and he said, 'Even if things don't go right for me, I would still like to serve the city.'"

Susan Deeney, Bharat Patel and Bill Watson were re-appointed to the tourism advisory board. Emma Baker was re-appointed to the board of elections supervisors.

Councilwoman Barbara Wagner talked about other green initiatives, including the ongoing community garden project.

She mentioned the IKEA distribution center in Perryville will be getting a new solar roof that will take five months to complete and be as large as 36 football fields.

She said although the Havre de Grace City Hall is nowhere near that size, similar projects should be considered.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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