Havre de Grace City Council OKs museum funds


The effort to build a maritime museum in Havre de Grace and to update the Havre de Grace Decoy Museum got a boost last week when the City Council voted 3-2 to give $10,000 to a museum fund.

The money is the city's first contribution to an effort to raise $1 million for a new museum and to install an elevator in the Decoy Museum, making it accessible to the handicapped.

The capital campaign has raised at least $200,000 from other sources, according to Anna M. Long, campaign chairwoman and council president.

A $400,000 contribution from the state is contingent on the campaign's matching that amount. But museum organizers are hoping the state will relax the terms of that contribution, allowing the campaign to receive state funds based on money that has already been spent.

The city should have waited for the approaching budget process to make the contribution, according to councilmen Henry J. Schreiber and Joseph W. Kochenderfer. But the council voted 3-2 against Mr. Schreiber's motion to kill the contribution. Councilman Rene A. Lambert was sick and did not attend the meeting.

The absence of city money from the museum fund was hurting fund raising, said Ms. Long.

In other action, the council voted unanimously to give Constar International, a plastic-container manufacturer, a $5,000-a-year tax credit for five years. The company, the city's second largest employer, is planning to add a 252,000-square-foot warehouse to its facility in the Chesapeake Industrial Park. The expanded warehouse could bring 50 more jobs to Havre de Grace, according to city planner Stan Ruchlewicz.

The tax break was initially contingent on the county's offering a separate incentive package, but Mr. Schreiber said the city should offer the company a break regardless of the county's action.

County Executive Eileen M. Rehrmann has not decided whether to offer Constar a tax break, according to George Harrison, county administration spokesman.

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