by Lisa Tome
County officials gave Port Deposit's plan for revitalization five thumbs up and four letters of support last week.
The council submitted letters of support for four of the town's planned initiatives. It was determined that submitting the letters would not have a fiscal impact to county government. "I think we should support them all," said Councilman George Patchell.
One letter supports Port Deposit's grant application for a proposed facade program. That $150,000 grant would provide funding for property owners to renovate if it is obtained. The goal of that grant is to help "strengthen and preserve the town's historic character."
Multiple flooding events have contributed to deterioration of homes. The Town is addressing flooding with a storm drain improvement project.
Another support letter is for a Port Deposit partnership with Habitat for Humanity Susquehanna. This project will provide funds for the town to acquire four properties and demolish the existing buildings. The four town homes were damaged by flood, vandalism, and owner neglect. The hope is to remove the structures, which have been vacant for five years, and have new Habitat homes built on the property. No specific amount was requested in this grant request.
The third support letter concerns Port Deposit's request for grant funding for Main Street parking improvements. That project, if funded, will improve the town-owned parking lot adjacent to Marina Park on South Main Street. More parking is needed in that area because the Tome Gas House is being restored as a Visitor's Center. That area will also be used as a research and education center to study the endangered Northern Map Turtle.
That grant request, for $142,481, will improve the parking lot and also fund a sign where the town can advertise coming events.
The final support letter, a grant request of $200,075, will continue the restoration of the historic Tome Gas House. That building has been improved but additional work and funding is needed.
Mayor Wayne Tome said he is grateful for the support and said it's part of the ongoing efforts in the town. "We want to keep it on the upswing to revitalize the Town of Port Deposit," said Tome.