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(April, 2011) Emmitsburg now has a year-round water restriction. Residents are not allowed to use water from the town’s system to water lawns, shrubs, flowers and gardens from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Town Manager Dave Haller said, "It requires you to water outdoors when it’s most effective and there’s the least evaporation." He also pointed out that both Walkersville and Middletown have used a similar restriction without placing an undue burden on their citizens.

The restriction was approved during the March 7 meeting. The hope is that it will reduce or end the need to apply similar seasonal restrictions that are passed when the water supply begins shrinking.

Violations of the new ordinance will be considered a misdemeanor and carry a fine of up to $250 per incident. Haller explained that the fine amount needed to be high enough to encourage residents to abide by the law because apparently few people obeyed the voluntary, temporary bans that that town council has passed during the summer months.

The ordinance passed 3-1 with Board President Chris Staiger voting against it. "There’s too much regulation," he said. "People pay for the water they use."

Emmitsburg to apply for grant to help pay for senior housing

The Emmitsburg Town Council approved a request from Homes for America to apply for $500,000 Maryland Community Development Block Grant. If received, the funds would go to offset some of the costs of converting a portion of the St. Joseph’s Provincial House into affordable senior housing.

Nancy Rase, president of Homes for America, said this could be considered the town’s contribution to the project that was promised when the project was approved last year. "So the town contribution is really just the use of municipal power," added Mayor James Hoover.

Rase said that Homes for America would even prepare the grant application and any other paperwork so town resources would not be devoted to the project.

The block grant is necessary because Homes for America was originally intending to use tax credits, but those have dropped because of the poor economy.

The Provincial House, which is owned by the Daughters of Charity, currently contains apartments for the Daughters of Charity, the National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Daughters of Charity offices and archives, St. Vincent Care Center, St. Catherine Nursing Center and the Villa St. Michael Independent and Assisted Living Center. However, there is still a great deal of underutilized space in the building.

Homes for America plans on developing some of that unused space into 50 senior housing units.

New receptionist approved

Despite some hesitation from some of the Emmitsburg commissioners, the board approved hiring a new full-time receptionist to work in the town office.

The decision was delayed from the March 7 meeting where it would have been a tie vote and approved during the March 21 meeting.

The position is funded in the current budget and will pay $11.47 per hour plus benefits. Since the last receptionist resigned, the town has been paying a temporary worker more than $18 an hour to do the work.

Town takes steps to become more walker friendly

The Emmitsburg Mayor and Board of Commissioners are working to make getting to Emmitsburg businesses on foot much easier. Mayor James Hoover said that work should begin soon on creating a full-functioning crosswalk with Walk/Don’t Walk lights at the East Main Street and Silo Hill Road intersection. Additionally, plans are being created to construct a sidewalk from the entrance of Brookfield on North Seton Avenue and connect it to the existing town sidewalk on the road. This will allow residents of the subdivision to walk downtown without having to walk along the shoulder of North Seton Avenue.

Emmitsburg approves community garden

Emmitsburg residents should be able to grow their own fresh vegetables this year in a new community garden. Located in the northeast section of Community Park, the garden will have 12 plots, measuring 10 feet by 5 feet, that residents can use.
The Emmitsburg Town Council had fast-tracked the request for a community garden in order to allow residents to be able to use it this year. The idea was presented and discussed on March 7 as a recommendation for the Citizens Advisory Committee and approved unanimously on March 21.

The location was one of two considered for the garden. The Community Park location was chosen because of its closeness to the town and available parking.
Residents can reserve their plot with a $20 security deposit that is refundable at the end of the growing season. The person who uses each lot will be responsible for weeding and maintaining it during the season and cleaning it up at the end of the season. Water for the gardens will be available from rain barrels set up near the pool buildings.

"It's great for family involvement,” said former Commissioner Denise Etris during the March 7 town meeting. “It's sort of a green activity, and it promotes people from different areas of town getting together.” She added that it is something that residents have been asking about for years.

Commissioner Patrick Joy said he had been in contact with other towns in the area—Walkersville, Frederick, and Westminster—that have community gardens and they all have found them beneficial. In addition, there is very little problem with liability issues and vandalism.

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