The property includes the four-bedroom home, which has a two-car garage, a sun room with decks, a bathroom with a handicapped shower, Jacuzzi, master bath and pocket doors throughout.

Process started in 2012

Gamatoria said he talked with Mayor Wayne Dougherty in January 2012 about making the property available to the city.

Gamatoria noted in February that the waterfront is truly the main draw of Havre de Grace.

His property, meanwhile, has a long history as the site of the Havre de Grace Yacht Club in the 1920s and 1930s, as well as other functions, he said.

"We looked at it, really, as a stewardship," he said of the property. "I think in the macro sense - 100 years, 200 years, 300 years from now - we really are just a very short steward of anything that we own."

The Gamatorias bought the Concord Street land in 1995, and Steve Gamatoria said he plans to move elsewhere in the area. He has building lots in the Havre de Grace Heights, off of Currier Street, and is also looking at other homes.

"Whatever we do, it's going to be completely, 100 percent handicap accessible," he said, explaining he wants the new home to be accessible to his family for the long term. "This house is not conducive for accessibility," he added.

If the voters approve the purchase, Gamatoria would have to move by Jan. 1, 2014. He does not know what he would do if the voters reject the purchase, but he said he intends to eventually move in any case.

"I don't really want to sell the property to a private owner," he added.

He said he pays annual property taxes to the city of slightly more than $5,000 and to the county of slightly more than $10,000. Gamatoria urged anyone with questions to contact him at

Council enthusiastic

When the acquisition was first put before the City Council, the council members were unanimous about throwing their support behind the whole idea.

"We've seen our waterfront properties disappear for many years and this is an opportunity to take one of the most historic properties…, the lighthouse down there, and protect it forever," Council President Randy Craig said.

"It's not very often an opportunity like this becomes available and I'm hopeful and confident it will gain the support that's necessary," Craig said.

Mayor Wayne Dougherty said the planned acquisition and the price the city is paying for it is a sign of things changing.

"There was a time when Havre de Grace waterfront property was worthless. No one wanted to live by the water," he said, adding the city continues to change and the waterfront has become its biggest tourist draw.

"Land preservation has always been extremely important to myself as I've served 16 years in the city," the mayor said.