Historic ship Andrew Doria could be built in Port Deposit

Port Deposit council members signed a preliminary agreement Tuesday night that would allow an organization to build a historic ship in the town.

If the money is raised, the town of Port Deposit will become the site for the construction of the historic Andrew Doria, according to Mayor Wayne Tome.

As part of that process, council members signed a preliminary memorandum of understanding acknowledging they would work to provide the space needed to build the ship.

Once it gets to the point of construction, the rest will be negotiated by the town's lawyer, David Carey.

Council member Judy Leonard raised a couple concerns, primarily that the town's two employees could potentially end up spending a good amount time and energy to help the process along and the construction wouldn't be guaranteed.

Councilman Jeff Spangler assured Leonard the memorandum of understanding is a basic agreement with the state that the town would provide the site.

Carey also added that the temporary agreement would eventually expire either in six months or when a more definite memorandum replaces it.

Both parties can agree to terminate it as well, he added.

Council members approved the memorandum of understanding but tabled Spangler's proposal to donate $2,000 to the fundraising efforts.

The Andrew Doria organization had intended to build the ship in Havre de Grace, and went so far as to put a sign at the future shipyard, about 100 yards away from the Lockhouse museum. The project, entirely funded by the organization, is expected to cost more than $8 million.

On Nov. 16, 1776, the Andrew Doria was the first American ship to be saluted by a foreign nation. St. Eustatius in the West Indies was the first to recognize the sovereignty of the United States. St. Eustatius is a part of the Netherlands Antilles, formerly known as the Netherlands West Indies in the Caribbean Sea.

Other business

Members also approved five budget amendments including contract fees for the Cecil County Sheriff's Office patrols, transitioning from contract to employee wages in the public works department and accounting for increased revenue from donations.

Most of the amendments were transfers, including moving $68,033.07 from the salaries line to professional fees for the Cecil County Sheriff's Office to offset contract fees, according Administrative Assistant Kathy Gray.

Another $20,000 and $15,000 were moved from contract labor to the salaries line because of an incorrect classification and $10,000 in grant revenue was moved to long-term savings because it was booked in the wrong year, Gray wrote in an e-mail.

A final amendment approved moved $700 from the transition line to mayor discretionary to count for excess money in the budget, she added.

Police in town

One resident, Howard Knox, spoke to town council members about his concerns with speeding through the town.

"There is no speed enforcement in this town right now at all," Knox said.

He later added that a neighbor stepped out in a crosswalk and almost ran into a Cecil County Sheriff's Office car.

Knox asked council members how the sheriff's office would enforce a law that they broke themselves.

The council meeting was initially scheduled to end with an executive session, but that was canceled.

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