Positive council reaction
City council members seemed unanimous Monday in hailing the acquisition as a great move for the city.
"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.
Councilman John Correri also said it is an opportunity for the city to keep the promise it made of keeping the waterfront open to the public.
Councilman Bill Martin said the city has been working on the acquisition since the spring.
"The owner is very generous to come to the city to offer it to us instead of a developer," he said. "It's a nice piece of land by the water."
Councilman Joe Smith said, when he ran for council last year, one of the most common questions he got was his position on preserving the waterfront.
"I think this is a wise move. I'm confident that the citizens will support this," he said.
Mayor Wayne Dougherty said 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.
"Land preservation has always been extremely important to myself as I've served 16 years on the city," he said.
New park coming
The plan for a new park on city-owned land to the rear of Citizens Care Center is to have amenities geared to use by senior citizens.
John Allen and Joe Conaway of the city's public works department made a presentation on the new park at Monday's city council meeting.
Dougherty said the city has been working on the park for eight or nine months.
The park is about 1-1/2 acres at the rear of the Citizens Care Center, Conaway said.
The mayor tasked Conaway and Allen about a year ago to use the property for a park-like setting that was user-friendly and handicap-accessible, Conaway told the city council.
The park had to incorporate stormwater-management features as well as amenities like walking trails.
All the work except electrical work will be done in-house, Conaway said.