Cecil County Govt. Disses South County; Tiny Yard-Sale Signs Disclose Abandonment of Earleville Waterfront Park, Boat Ramp

September 14, 2015

The Cecil County Executive’s plan to abandon a waterfront boat ramp in Earleville, the only county recreational facility in the south county, has been quietly disclosed to local citizens via a hand-written yard sale type sign, with a public “informational meeting” scheduled at a tiny meeting room at the Cecilton library in October hosted by “administrative staff” rather than the executive or County Council.

The proposal by the administration of County Executive Tari Moore was first disclosed to the County Council a week ago, and this past weekend two small yard-sale type signs were posted at the Stemmer’s Run waterfront park and boat ramp announcing a “public meeting” on Moore’s plan to abandon the facility– for which the county has a free lease from state and federal agencies, with the only county obligation being to maintain and mow the area at a cost of $5,000 a year.

[SEE previous CECIL TIMES report on the county’s proposed abandonment of the popular local boat ramp, dog-walking, biking and jogging park here: http://ceciltimes.com/2015/09/cecil-county-exec-wants-to-abandon-earleville-boat-ramp-to-save-5k-fate-of-park-adjacent-to-us-dump-uncertain/ ]

Several members of the County Council insisted that the community be advised of the proposal, and during the weekend two tiny hand-crafted signs were posted: one at the entrance to the facility at the end of Pond Neck Road and one near the boat ramp itself. No official notifications had been posted on the county government’s website a week after the disclosure.

A white poster board sign, with a hand-written magic marker heading stating, “Ramp Closing—Please Read,” is attached to a flimsy yard sale type metal sign holder that shook back and forth in the wind. Pasted below that hand-printed heading is a yellow-shaded printed notice, stating:
“Public Informational Meeting Regarding County Consideration For Termination of Sub-Lease For Operation and Maintenance of Stemmers Run Boat Ramp.” The public “meeting” is scheduled for 6 p.m., October 13, 2015, in a small meeting room—which normally hosts children’s story time readings—at the Cecilton Library, 215 East Main St., Cecilton. (SEE photo below)

The tiny sign went on to state that “Future operation and availability of the Stemmer’s Run boat ramp as a public boat ramp is uncertain should the county terminate the sub-lease.”

Cecil Times photographed the sign on Monday, as a local resident walking her pet beagle passed nearby. Advised of the sign, and Moore’s plan to abandon the site, the dog walker expressed shock and dismay: “I can’t believe they would do that. We love to walk down here all the time.”

The sign bears the signature of Al Wein, the county director of administration, who also presented the abandonment proposal to the County Council last Tuesday, along with Clyde VanDyke, the county Parks and Recreation director, who initiated the abandonment plan. Van Dyke said he was unhappy with having to send county employees and mowers to the park “all the way down there” in rural Earleville at an annual maintenance cost of $5,000. VanDyke has been the prime advocate of a costly regional park in Calvert, hitting taxpayers for over $7 million, for playing fields that he says will be primarily used by out-of-county or state traveling sports teams.

Residents of the south county have long been dissed by the Elkton-based Cecil County government, but this latest insult is being greeted with shock and anger by Cecil Times readers in comments, phone calls and messages received after our previous article.

Moore’s last dissing of the south county came a few months ago when she proposed a convoluted series of property regulations and government mandates for people who might temporarily rent out their vacation homes for a few days or weeks. The regs were in response to one person’s complaints about an Earleville neighbor, and failed to take into account noise regulations that could address the problem. Instead, Moore proposed new laws and rules that would have killed the south county tradition of families paying rent to another branch of the family to share occupancy of summer homes that have been in the family for generations. Moore eventually dropped that regulatory mandate after public outcry. [SEE previous CECIL TIMES exclusive report here: http://ceciltimes.com/2015/01/cecil-county-moves-to-limit-private-vacation-home-rentals-tough-regs-would-mandate-advance-county-ok/ ]

This latest wrong-headed proposal from the Moore administration– to abandon a valuable waterfront park that was created, built, and given to the county, for free—poses serious questions about Moore’s judgment and management of county government departments and staff.

Copies of Moore’s official schedule over the past year and a half previously obtained by Cecil Times under a Public Information Act request show that she usually only meets with department heads once a month, if that, and just meets with her “senior staff” once a week on Mondays. Senior staff apparently includes Wein and county attorney Jason Allison, and her own administrative assistant. The department heads have separate individual meetings monthly but some schedule listings show some department heads not having a consistently scheduled monthly meeting.

VanDyke, the parks and recreation director, is in charge of a major multi-million dollar construction project for the Calvert regional park facility he strongly lobbied for. But he is also in charge of all the county’s park and recreation areas and programs. How Moore could have allowed him to advance such a politically and substantively flawed plan such as the proposed abandonment of the Stemmers Run boat ramp and waterfront park is stunning and inexplicable.

And the juvenile, yard sale signs announcing this plan to the public at the Stemmer’s Run site—and the proposed tiny venue public “informational meeting”— with only administrative staff present to hear from citizens and not the County Executive herself, to explain her administration’s rationale—is just rubbing salt into the wounds of south county residents.


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3 Responses to Cecil County Govt. Disses South County; Tiny Yard-Sale Signs Disclose Abandonment of Earleville Waterfront Park, Boat Ramp

  1. Donna Moore on September 15, 2015 at 9:09 am

    This is free land and a great area for locals as well as tourists to come and sit and watch the boats, birds and tranquility of the Upper Chesapeake Bay. Why is it that we pay the same taxes as anyone else in the northern part of the county, but always get the short end of the stick from these incompetents in county government. If it wasn’t for Mayor Joe Zang from Cecilton, the dredge dumping and the drinking water in that section of the County would still be an issue. Where is our district council member on this boat ramp issue?

    It is way time for county government to have a complete make over in staff. I think Al Wein has been drinking too much of do nothing Tari’s Koolaid and Allison is a joke. She gives $5,000 to an organization that is a cat rescue but wants to save $5,000 by abandoning the boat ramp and park. Really? Cats are NOT included in the animal control ordinance and she can throw away $5,000 for cats but not a scenic and useful, income producing boat ramp which is free.

    Tari Moore, maybe you should spend more time in the office and do your job! If you don’t want your job, then resign and let someone who can do the job have a shot at it. Your a disgrace to Cecil County. Al Wein, you have been around long enough to know better. Thank goodness elections are coming up in 2016.

    • Ron Lobos on September 16, 2015 at 3:28 pm

      I have to agree Donna, her time is up. She’s shown me nothing except pandering to special interest groups that she hopes will equate to votes in her re-election campaign. I believe that the County Executive job should be a one term job anyway. That
      way fresh ideas are foremost and future elections are never an issue.

  2. jim jarvis on October 4, 2015 at 9:15 am

    I am not a resident of the southern portion of our county, but, I do agree that our county government needs to represent all of our citizens. If, as stated in a previous reply, the boat ramp is income producing, where are these funds used? Just as important is the lack of benefit provided this section of our county.

    Build a multi-million dollar park for out of towners and traveling teams, or support recreation for all of our citizens. The boat ramp brings tourists to Cecil, and in turn revenue to Cecil. Wake-up Cecil County Council!!

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