The decision by the Havre de Grace City Council last Monday to withdraw all $12,000 in city funding originally designated for the Lower Susquehanna Heritage Greenway may also jeopardize significant funding for local museums and the city itself.
In an eight-page letter sent to Mayor Wayne Dougherty and the City Council last Wednesday, Greenway Executive Director (and Harford County Councilwoman) Mary Ann Lisanti informed the City Council that its decision to cut all funding for the Greenway – which describes itself as “a non-profit organization whose mission is to stimulate local economic activity by developing a linkage between our natural, historic and cultural resources” – may result in hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars in additional grants and aid being lost.
“We hope that the City now fully understands that this minor budget
amendment substantially impacts current and future capital projects by creating an unintended but serious consequence. Our local quality of life, historic charter and access to enormous funding opportunities presently and in the future remain in the hands of the City’s leadership,” Lisanti wrote.
Lisanti proceeds with a warning for the City Council as well: if the $12,000 in funding is not restored, the Greenway may be “faced
with a decision to consider rescinding authorization” for $200,000 in Havre de Grace area projects including the North Park/ Rt. 155 Gateway Project, Washington and War of 1812 Signage, and Maritime and Lighthouse Museums re-creation of HDG in 1812.
Essentially, since the Greenway no longer has financial support from Havre de Grace, it may no longer be able to act as the agent to apply for and authorize these local grants.
Furthermore, nearly $400,000 in existing projects (North trail project improvement; Interpretative/Directional signage; Trail construction / pre-development; Maritime Museum John Smith Exhibit; Scenic Byway Corridor Management Plan), may be immediately affected and other future projects (Chesapeake Bay John Smith Buoy data kiosk, a
visitor information kiosk and the trail segment of the Lilly Run lmprovements project) may be abandoned altogether.
Finally, the removal of city funding to the Greenway may also jeopardize the $4.4 million federal funding request for the Lower Susquehanna Heritage Greenway that was submitted recently by United States Senator Ben Cardin.
Is Lisanti just playing hardball with the city in order to save the Greenway’s budget for FY or does Havre de Grace truly stand to lose out on more than $5 million in outside funding for trails/museums/etc if it doesn’t reinstate the nonprofit organization’s $12,000 operating assistance in the city budget?
The fiscal year ends June 30 and Lisanti says there is still a chance for the City Council to reinstate the Greenway funding and avoid all the hassle outlined in her letter.
“We respectfully requesthat the City of Havre de Grace re-consider it’s withdrawn of support by restoring funding and reaffirming their
commitment to our regional partnership and the Lower Susquehanna
Heritage Greenway. A resolution of support for the LSHG and restoration of funding could quickly resolve any issues outlined in this letter without any further action by the Board of Directors,” she wrote.
Here is the full text of Lisanti’s letter to Havre de Grace’s Mayor and City Council: