Mayor Don Briggs
With the winter banquet season now drawing to a close and the Super Bowl behind us, there is not much left to blur the stark reality of winter. Left to a sullen impatience is the unsettled longing for spring. While heartened by the unhurried longer daylight hours, it was the surprise guest of a few warm days that gave a nod to the hope of an early spring. Also stirred by the elixir of warmer temperatures so obliging to my anxious imagination, was the restless ambition of Lib’s perennials pushing up throughout the backyard to confirm the possibility. Oh, so tempting the signals be.
If I seem particularly attentive to the signs of spring, it is because this is the spring the Square – Main Street revitalization project is to begin. Yes, finally after four years of plotting and planning, that seems to us at times to be moving at a glacier pace, but to our development partner the State Highway Administration (SHA), as moving along at an unimpeded rush. This project along with the now underway East Street – Flat Run Bridge replacement, a 100 percent SHA project, when complete, will, for the first time, provide connected sidewalks through the downtown along Main Street, from the Brookfield and Pembrook Woods subdivisions to the west and the Silo Hill commercial area to the east.
All of this has been done as a compatible part of a State of Maryland Sustainable Communities Program. One of the first decisions I made when I came into office was to go with the Sustainable Community Program, and not the state Main Street program, a decision I haven’t regretted for a minute. Private property façade grants under the program, together with our own initiatives, have exceeded expectations. To the five consecutive years of matching grant awards, totaling $250,000, results in $500,000 invested in the town historical property façades area. During the same period, pedestrian connectivity and safety has been enhanced, with eight sidewalk connections throughout the town. Now with the downtown revitalization project about to start, it is all coming together. We are moving to a goal of a more walkable town. Thank you for your patience.
On April 6, 1917, the United States, through joint congressional action, declared war on the German Empire. On April 8, 2017, the American Legion and VFW will recognize the 100th Anniversary of this declaration at noon at the Doughboy.
Working through the State House is a blighted properties bill. Though giving much-needed attention to a municipal problem, the bill seems to give a pass to banks and their foreclosed-on properties. The bill might have to be accepted as at least a step in the right direction.
Another pending bill is Senate Bill 141 that would require Maryland’s local board of elections to establish polling places at each public and private college and university in the State that awards baccalaureate or graduate-level degrees and has campus housing. The local election boards must pay a reasonable fee to cover the costs of the space. Imagine everyone in Emmitsburg having to go to the Mount.
My response: If public schools need to take back a normal closing day, Election Day, the Town of Emmitsburg has an optional location for polling. Moving the polling site to the Mount would be inconvenient and expensive for the town residents, and particularly devastating to our senior residents. More to come on the progress of this bill.