Still Pond News and Information
June 27, 2013
Lewis "Mr. Perry" Wilson passes
After a month long illness that had him in and out of the Intensive Care Unit, Lewis Wilson died yesterday at the age of 96. Most know him as the iconographic symbol of resilience in Still Pond who kept active and working to the end. He was a fixture at the Still Pond store while it was open, where he had his own chair. When the store closed because of the fire, he kept diligent watch nearly everyday at the center of town, sitting in his Chevy pickup, regardless of season or weather. Passersby's would honk their horn in greeting to the man many called "The Mayor of Still Pond". A number of people would regularly stop by to give him presents or treats, or just to talk. He worked nearly his whole life beginning at the age of 12, and earned the respect of everyone for his kindness, honesty, integrity, and hard work. Many recall the endless stories he related about the old rural lifestyle and farm work before mechanization. A impromptu memorial has been setup at the store with pictures and notes from well wishers. He will never be replaced, and will never be forgotten.
Friends may call on Friday, July 5 from 6 to 8 pm in the Galena Funeral Home of Stephen L. Schaech, 118 W. Cross St. Galena, MD, where funeral service will be held on Saturday, July 6 at 10 am. Burial in New Christian Chapel of Love Cemetery, Still Pond. See more info here.
Photo Above: Mr. Perry holding court in his favorite pickup.
July 28, 2012
Still Pond Store Sold!
Still Pond Preservation, Inc. has completed the goal of saving the Covington Store, also known as the Still Pond Store, for future generations. The organization thanks the many people involved who made the survival of the building and its architectural significance possible.
Still Pond Preservation, Inc. assigned its contract with the store owners to Steel Pone, LLC , who completed the sale with former owners Ed Price and Nancy Zioloski. Steel Pone, LLC is wholly owned by Walter Bowie, who plans to repair the building in order to return it to commercial use, preferable a store. Loblolly Productions, a growing design and multmedia firm in which Walter Bowie is a principle, will also occupy part of the building when renovations are completed.
Steel Pone, LLC is seeking to have the property listed as a site on the Kent County Register of Historic Places as a condition of assignment of contract with Still Pond Preservation, Inc. This will ensure that the building cannot be demolished without the approval of the Kent County Historic Preservation Commission. The Historic Preservation Commission will consider the application August 27th at 7PM at the Commissioners Hearing Room.
By virtue of being a contributing building in the Still Pond Historic District, state and federal tax credits are available to offset renovations of the property. Steel Pone, LLC is in the process of applying for tax credits before work begins on the building in order to receive those credits.
If the Historic Preservation Commission and the Planning Commission accept the application, it will be the second property at the heart of the district that will receive this designation. The first was the property just across the street that is owned by Mike Brunner and Jean Sucharewicz, where George Covington got his start as a druggist in the store of Daniel Haines at age 17 in 1855. Brunner and Sucharewicz's property was also the first in the county to receive this designation.
Still Pond Preservation, Inc. will continue its mission of helping to promote and enhance Still Pond's rural village character through informing others on best practices for historic properties and encouraging an appreciation for and awareness of Still Pond history.
This website will evolve into a news and information site supporting the renovation of the store, promotion of Still Pond, and the efforts of Still Pond Preservation, Inc.
July 28, 2012
Jane Howard property sold
After 25 years of standing vacant, the Jane Howard property in Still Pond was sold at an estate auction. Russ Richardson, of Cecil County, who owns Richardson Properties Corp., purchased the property and will be renovating it, he said in a phone conversation. Jane Howard was one of three women in Still Pond to be the first women voters in Maryland in 1908. There were many residents in Still Pond that were relieved that the property is now in the hands of someone who will fix it up after being vacant for so long. Already, the property has been cleared of a great deal of ivy and underbrush that has grown up over the years.
March 15, 2012
Still Pond Store makes Maryland's most endangered list
Preservation Maryland, Inc., a leading preservation organization in Maryland, placed the Covington Store (Still Pond Store) on the 2012 Endangered Maryland list of threatened historic properties. The list is also featured in the March/April edition of Maryland Life magazine. This designation clearly demonstrates the historic importance of the store and Still Pond as an important cultural resource. This statewide recognition will hopefully raise awareness as to the need to preserve and repair the structure, and spur additional donations and possibility of grants. Many thanks to Preservation Maryland, Inc. for their important work and this designation. See Maryland Life article
March 8, 2012
Still Pond Preservation achieves tax exempt status!
By letter dated March 1, 2012, Still Pond Preservation, Inc. received notice from the Internal Revenue Service that its application to become a Public Charity under IRC 501 (c)(3) had been approved. This much anticipated change in tax status puts our preservation organization on a par with other charities allowing donations and gifts to be fully deductible on the tax returns of donors. Just as important, Still Pond Preservation is now in a position to be considered for grants from charitable foundations and trusts.See official letter
Jan 15, 2012
Cleanup continued this weekend with volunteer help and a portion of the original wood siding was revealed on the second floor in the front. Some original windows were tentatively replaced to let light in, damaged freezers went to recycling, tree and yard work was done, and additional work in the interior. At the end of the day on Saturday, volunteers were treated to a pizza donated by Marzella's By The Bay of Betterton! Thanks to all the volunteers for helping!
Jan 12, 2012
Cleanup Photos in Kent News
Craig O'Donnell took pictures of the cleanup event which appeared in the Kent News along with a short article. See article
Jan 9, 2012
Wildly Successful Cleanup!
Over a beautiful sunny weekend, nearly a dozen volunteers brought in a new year for the Still Pond Store by emptying it of refuse and junk and making other repairs. The upstairs had been clogged by decades of deposits of broken or unused junk. Volunteers were treated to the remains of old furniture, moldy mattresses, bedsprings, broken cash registers, old heaters, and many other items, mundane, curious, amusing, unrecognizable and otherwise. Although a few choice items were retained, most were unceremoniously deposited into a waiting dumpster, except for metal items to be recycled. Plaster that had fallen or been ripped from the ceiling had to be shoveled into buckets to be removed. The worst part was clearing out melted plastic and water soaked charred remains of god-knows-what awaiting them in the fire damaged addition to the building. Serge Pepper compared the task to Hercules cleaning out the Augean Stables. Donning masks in a whirlwind of activity and in a cloud of dust, volunteers with gloved hands shoveled, swept and manhandled the contents. Despite the unpleasant task, volunteers made short work of it, far exceeding everyone's expectations and clearing out nearly everything not bolted down, filling the entire dumpster. Windows were cleaned so that light could come into a building that has no electricity, and an ingenuous method of covering the broken windows in which one person can remove without a ladder or tools from the inside was suggested by Mike Brunner (who credits Les Morehouse for the idea). The cash registers were checked to see if anyone left any cash in them (they didn't). After about 70 man-hours were expended over two days and the naked floor could be seen for the first time in at least 40 years, a feeling of camaraderie and pride was palpable among the group. Hats off to everyone for their hard work and dedication! Planning is underway to determine the next steps slated for the weekend of Jan. 14th-16th coming up, which will probably include some yard work, dismantling the shelving in the store and disposing of the fire damaged refrigerators. Stop by and pitch in this Saturday Jan. 14th through Monday 16th! (between about 10AM and 4PM)
Jan 5, 2012
Cleanup to begin this weekend
Still Pond Preservation will be beginning to clean up, repair and stabilize the store and we need your help. We will be working for two weekends; Jan 7-8 and Jan 14-16. Time is from about 10AM to 4PM but may extend beyond those times. No special skills needed, just the desire to pitch in. Please email Walter Bowie .
Dec 12, 2011
Repairs are being done to the Still Pond Store to repair the roof, replace broken windows and begin to restore the building. Still Pond Preservation has committed time and money to ultimately bring the building back to life. The first step is making it waterproof to prevent any further deterioration. Volunteers are welcome to help out, please email Walter Bowie .
You can help repair by joining the effort.
Photo: Walter Bowie repairs roof as Jim Herron assists.
Nov 26, 2011
Still Pond Preservation Takes Possession
In a lease-to-buy contract, Still Pond Preservation, Inc. has taken possession of the Still Pond Store. The intention is to stabilize the building, prevent deterioration, clean it up, and to make minor repairs and improvements. Still Pond Preservation has put money down, and has one year to come up with the remainder. Individual donations are still urgently needed, but the one year contract allows time to organize and implement a solid game for the future of the building and secure the final funding. Volunteers, this is the time to step up. A lot of people have expressed a desire to help out and provide labor, and now is the chance. No one will be allowed to enter the property without prior approval, so please email Walter Bowie with your skills and availability. The first order of business will be to repair the roof, and determine what will be done to the damage at the corner. There is also lot of trash, junk and fallen plaster that will be need to be removed from the building. Because of the holiday season, an organized cleanup is scheduled for over the weekend of January 7-8. Please email with your name, availability and any special skills. Don’t forget that a lot of donations are still needed to complete the funding.
Photo Above: The original photo board from the store survived, although reddened by the fire.
Oct 9, 2011
Own a piece of Still Pond History
Holly Harris McCoy, of Blooming Neck, near Still Pond, graciously donated a number of promotional flyers printed by William Medders during WWII to advertise a sale on goods offered at Medders Store. [close up of part of flyer pictured] Pictured in the flyer are corsets, shoes, wash boards, sewing machines, etc. along with current prices (your could get a shirt for $1 and a pair of shoes for $1.39, and a barrel of flour for $3.85) To encourage new donations to Still Pond Preservation, Inc., you will receive a flyer if you make a donation of $250 or more. Supplies are extremely limited, so make a donation now to secure your flyer!
Sep 26, 2011
Still Pond chef Glen May's skills featured in benefit
On Saturday night, a benefit for Still Pond Preservation Inc. was held at Rob and Alison Ditmars' House. Still Pond resident and chef extraordinaire Glenn May, former chef at the Kennedyville Inn, called his faithful in to witness and experience his latest sorcery. None were disappointed nor surprised by his brilliant use of ingredients both local and global, which ranged from local veal from St. Bridget's farm to Mahi-Mahi from the tropics to Kellogg's Corn Flakes from Battle Creek, Michigan. Dinner was served in the elegant dining room of the Ditmars' House, which was built by William Medders and a cornerstone of Still Pond's architectural heritage. The guests were treated to three types of appetizers, crispy eggplant and goat cheese, curried meatballs, and homemade bread slices topped with a butternut squash spread and diced beets, and enjoyed with a variety of wines from Glen's personal stash. The first course consisted of Mahi w/ French green lentils, roasted butternut squash and butternut squash nage. The main course featured local braised veal breast w/ dinosaur kale, grilled Honeycrisps, white sweet potato puree and crispy sweetbreads. For dessert was cereal milk panna cotta w/ dried strawberry compote, banana brulee and cornflake & almond crumble. see more pictures
Glen May is a prime example of the talent that resides in Still Pond, and one who supports retaining Still Pond's architectural heritage. He donated his time and talents for this event, and the Ditmars graciously offered their house as the venue. Quail Run Nursery donated potted variegated hollies as party favors. Proceeds benefited Still Pond Preservation, Inc.
Aug 16, 2011
Does closing a rural Post Office really save money?
The official Still Pond Post Office Closure Proposal outlines the cost savings in closing the branch. Close examination reveals fuzzy math and fuzzier assumptions. It claims that the postal system will save $38,694 / year. However, the tabulation does not take into account the revenues at the retail window, which were increasing every year for for the last three years it was in operation, which were; 2008: $41,112 , 2009: $42,370 , 2010: $39,163. The last year appears less until you consider that the fire took place in late September 2010, so there were three months of revenues that were lost for that year. Even if you ignore the increased activity during the busy Christmas season, the revenues for 2010 would have been at least $52,217 , a 23% increase over the previous year! (based on previous months average) Any business I know of would be more than happy with that kind of growth in 2010.
I suppose the Postal Service assumes that any retail window revenue in Still Pond will be captured at Worton or another branch. Yet that assumption is flawed because they are not accounting for any loss of revenue from PO Box fees, even though they are encouraging box holders to use rural route service instead, which does not generate any income, and in fact simply shifts the delivery costs onto a more expensive method using internal combustion engines. They put that cost at only $9875 for "replacement service". Yet these days when gas is $3.60+ / gallon , and those vehicles probably only get 10 mpg with all the stopping and starting, plus additional wear and tear and replacement costs of vehicles, insurance, etc. , $9875 probably won't cover it, even assuming you don't have to pay for extra time/personnel to deliver mail that people used to come to them to pick up.
In addition, people and businesses in the area will rely increasingly on other services such as Fed Ex or UPS for their package needs because of the cost and inconvenience of driving out of the way to Worton just to send/receive a package. Once you are in the car, you'll more likely use the UPS store to send a package which is closer to other shopping. The cost saving calculation in the proposal does not take into account any potentially lost revenue, which is a naive business assumption.
And finally, they still haven't saved a nickel of the $44,279 they say they'll save in salary and "fringe benefits" paid to Joyce Manley, who is still working for the Postal Service in Barkley. The only actual savings appears to be the paltry $358/month lease they paid to the owners of the Still Pond Store.
Using Postal Service figures, it appears that the Still Pond Post Office would have generated about $3648 in profit in 2010 had there not been a fire to suspend its activities. Certainly not a huge profit, but certainly not a justification to shut it down, and dramatically better performance than the rest of the Postal System overall.
Get a clue, Postal Service. People will support a small, personable, friendly retail outlet that provides good service to the community. Rather than shutting down the Still Pond Post Office, wouldn't it be better to study a rare model of annually increasing revenue in an otherwise bleak outlook for the future of the Postal Service in general?
July 29, 2011
Betterton and Massey Post Offices being considered for closure
The Chestertown Spy reported that the county Commissioners received word Tuesday that Betterton and Massey Post Offices are being considered for closure. Ironically, one of the reasons cited for a justification of the closure of Still Pond Office was that Betterton offered the same service nearby. If Betterton goes, the parking situation at Worton will go from worse to worser. The Worton PO is only a few miles from Chestertown, wouldn't make sense to close that terrible location and move it to a more geographically relevant location such as, um, Still Pond?
July 27, 2011
Article in the Chestertown Spy
Melissa McIntire wrote an article called The Fight for Still Pond Store in the Chestertown Spy. Still Pond Preservation, Inc. is gearing up it's fundraising efforts to buy the store. Please help this effort by donating.
July 8, 2011
Still Pond Store under contract!
Still Pond Preservation, Inc. has a signed contact to purchase the Still Pond Store. However, the purchase price must be raised in the next 100 days for the sale to go through. Please consider donating to Still Pond Preservation Inc. to save this Eastern Shore Treasure!
June 11, 2011
What's cooking in Still Pond?
Saturday, June 18 five to 7 p.m. will be a simple community get-together where everyone brings a dish to share. This will be a fun event, and anyone is welcome to attend. more info
If you drive through a still pond you may have noticed signs popping up that say "Save the Still Pond Store". These signs were created to help raise awareness of a still lingering community need. You can get your own sign by contacting the webmaster.
April 29, 2011
For anyone still not aware of the Still Pond Post Office Meeting tonight, Thursday April 28 at 6PM at the Still Pond United Methodist Church (the brick church with the spire), please attend! The fate of the future of a Post Office in Still Pond may depend on your attendance! Betterton residents, you are next! Still Pond fought off a closure a decade ago by packing the same church and speaking up. Postal Officials higher than Bryan Landry will probably be in attendance and may listen to reason. We have a solid alternative offered by Graham Ero, twice the space for the same price! It's amazing to reflect on the fact that the "drainage improvement" work now being done in Still Pond cost $193,000 would pay for 55 years of a Post Office lease. It's time to stand up and make government respond to priorities of taxpayers!
Apr. 14, 2011
A new 21667 meeting has been set by the Postal Service: Thursday, April 28th, 2011 from 6PM to 7PM at the Still Pond United Methodist Church. This will be an official meeting that is part of the process of closing the Still Pond Post Office. It may be the only face to face input the community can give. Bryan Landry will be there and there may be other Postal officials.
Apr. 11, 2011
It's important that residents of Still Pond and surrounding areas write letters to Senators Cardin and Mikuski , who have the greatest influence on the fate of our Post Office because of their direct contacts to the highest Postal authorities. See the Letter Writing page for addresses and a sample letter.
Mar. 28, 2011
Still Pond Preservation, Inc. is now accepting donations. Started by Still Pond residents that hope to save the heart of their community, it plans to purchase the property to save it from demolition. Please give generously and consider what it would be like to lose this landmark building forever. Donations are tax deductible.
Mar. 25, 2011
It was standing room only in the Chestertown Post Office back processing room, where about 45-60 chairs were set out for Still Pond residents. Joyce Manly, postmistress of the Still Pond Post Office was in attendance as well as Alex Rasin, County Commissioner and Richard Sossi, former house of delegates. Although the letter announcing the meeting was called "an opportunity to discuss alternatives with us", and that "our tentative plans will only lead to a formal proposal if we are satisfied that a maximum degree of regular and effective service can be provided.", Bryan Landry made it clear that a formal study and process was already in motion, and that this meeting, in which only short and untimely notice was given, was in his mind one of the steps required by law to close a post office. A number of residents objected to the the time and place of the meeting, and Landry's response was that there was no money to hold the meeting at any other time or place, and that he had searched in vain for a place to hold the meeting for free. Mr. Landry needed only to call Joyce Manly or contacts on this website (which he kept saying he visited) to find several suitable locations both for free and in Still Pond; the Methodist Church and Graham Ero's building (which Graham reiterated was available). Someone pointed out that the 50+ people in attendance drove 12 miles in 50 different cars to get to the meeting, when Bryan Landry and he cohorts could have driven to Still Pond in one. In addition, Alex Rasin confirmed that to the best of his knowledge, the county did not charge for public meetings in the commissioners hearing room only a block away.
Rather than speaking to "alternatives", Mr. Landry said he could only pass our questions on to the Baltimore Office, which he said will be answered to us individually, via mail, yet could not say when. A postal employee wrote down our questions as individuals were allowed to speak in turn, and took down our name and PO Box #. At least 15 or so did speak. Most of the questions were responded by Landry with "I don't know" or "I'll get back to you with that" or "we're doing a study". He seemed most uninformed of the operations he is supposedly overseeing; and although he said that the Postal Service has no money, he was unable to tell us whether the Still Pond branch was profitable, nor any of the other 100 or so branches under his jurisdiction.
As to alternatives, his main focus was selling the idea of a "Rolling Post Office", or a "Post Office on Wheels", a concept invented in the 1890's and deployed in areas such as Kentucky and Arkansas, for farmers in remote areas that are unable to get mail service otherwise. In recent years it is a technique that has serviced seniors and disabled individuals in urban apartment buildings such as in Cleveland, so it is questionable why it is relevant to our situation. Indeed, Serge Pepper questioned the practicality of leaving cash in his mailbox 1.5 miles from his home. Landry responded by saying that he could "make an appointment" with the rural carrier to meet him at his mailbox, an idea so absurd it barely requires comment. The Postal Service is desperate to shed 2000 branches, and they are apparently targeting mostly rural branches, despite Postmaster General Patrick Donahue’s statement that "Especially in rural areas, the post office is the only face of the federal government in the community. In the very smallest offices, in most cases they are the only employee, so they are actually interacting with customers every single day,"
Mr. Landry was unreceptive to any alternatives other than his century old "Rolling Post Office" idea. Graham Ero offered a space twice the size of the current Still Pond Office at the same rental price just steps from the old location. Mr. Landry cited the strict regulations that would have to be followed to become a suitable location. Mr. Ero had to repeatedly assert his offer until Mr. Landry final assented to giving him the contact information to the "Real Estate Division" after the meeting.
Several people suggested that the trailer at Betterton or another trailer could be moved to Still Pond to meet the need, yet Landry insisted there was no money for a trailer, despite the fact that the federal government owns trailers in New Orleans that are selling for as little as $5,191 , not much more than a years lease in Still Pond.
B.J. Herron, a Still Pond resident in her 80's, defiantly waved her walking cane in the air to accentuate the needs of senior citizens in Still Pond. Tim Anderson gave a rousing speech, which was met with applause. Jack Burkert put it this way; "We had a deal; you would provide a service, and we were your customers; and now that there was a fire, why is it that you have broken your deal?". Kate O'Donnell, whose post card mailings at her own expense were the only notice that many residents had of the meeting, expressed her bewilderment of the lack of transparency and notice in the process. There was no shortage of passion nor eloquence in the audience, which was only met by Landry's observation that "Every little community says the same things, you are no different".
It's becoming clearer that when government is forced to become smaller, just like the case of the Upper Shore Community Mental Health Center, bureaucracy attacks not the most logical or inefficient expenditures, but rather the most politically expedient. Like a jackal attacking the helpless and injured of the herd, the Postal Service’s policy is to eliminate the politically weak and disconnected rural communities that have little clout, and even tries to subjugate the process by holding meetings with little notice and no transparency.
Mr. Landry's argument about efficiencies seems dubious. By his own admission, no employees will be eliminated by the closing of the Still Pond Post Office. I don't believe they paid for any electricity or heat, because they were not metered separately. It appears that the only savings is the paltry $3500 / year or so in rent they paid, which is no doubt will be easily surpassed by the extra mileage that a fleet of trucks providing a "Rolling Post Office" entails.
Mr. Landry did submit to the concept of another community meeting, in face of the flaws of the requirements of notice. He did say that he would try to get our questions answered before the next meeting. We will await and see.
Mar. 22, 2011
Still Pond Preservation, Inc. board members and officers were elected last night. Walter Bowie was elected President, Rob Ditmars was elected Treasurer, and Craig O'Donnell was elected Secretary. Terry Rabinowitz and Patricia Deitz were also elected to the board.
The Postal Service has called a meeting at the Chestertown Post Office Thursday, March 24 5-6 PM for Still Pond residents.
This letter was sent out to some residents, but not all. It appears that they are leaning towards closing the Still Pond Post Office permanently. Although the Postal Service in a previous letter has stated that if the branch is closed residents will retain their 21667 address, just the opposite happened to nearby Lynch when they closed their branch. Within 6 months they were all forced to use a Worton address.
Federal Postal Policy appears to state that a branch cannot be closed unless there is no interest in retaining it from the community. It is imperative all residents attend this meeting to avoid the Postal Service closing the branch permanently.
Mar. 21, 2011
The demo permit for the building is now active, but the building is still standing strong. Tonight, Still Pond Preservation, Inc. will elect board members and a bid for the building will be submitted as soon as practical.
Feb. 22, 2011
At this weeks meeting it was determined that a non-profit would be formed to collect tax deductible donations. There is some legal work required to reach this status, but fortunately we have several attorneys on our team working pro bono.
Feb. 16, 2011
Monday night's meeting was well attended with lots of great ideas and energy. It was determined that there should be a meeting every week at the same time and place; Monday 6PM at Walter Bowie's house (email Walter for directions). Dick Wolfson and Bruce Nordman(sp?) presented their findings from entering the building and inspecting it. A summery of the findings is here.
Feb. 15, 2011
The Baltimore Sun ran an article on the Store:
Feb. 13, 2011
Monday night at 6 p.m. at my house Dick Wolfson will present his assessment of the Still Pond market building after entering the building with a contractor and viewing the inside up close. I invite anyone who is interested to attend, with a special invitation to the owners of the building. The best way to find a buyer is to get information out. There are those that will continue to say that trying to save the building is somehow dividing the community. I ask them to consider using this opportunity to unite the community. I believe everyone wants the same thing, to bring back the Store and Post Office. I can accept that we try and fail. But I don't see the point of listening to those that don't want to try.
By now many of you have received this questionnaire from Bryan L. Landry. I think it's clear from anyone reading it that the questionnaire is designed to justify a closing of the Still Pond post office. The fact that they spelled "employment" wrong on question four is an indication of the amount of care they put into it. In fact I consider question four an invasion of my privacy. Why do they not have a question that asks whether you are able to drive to Worton and the distance? For a lot of people, it is a lot longer than the 5.2 miles cited. I urge everyone to answer the questionnaire carefully, and add a page that describes how much having a post office means to you personally. I would also point out that the question of a closure is broader than Still Pond. Everyone knows that before the fire the USPS was considering a Still Pond/Betterton combined office. They were actively seeking a location for a combined facility. The present Betterton facility is substandard. I would suggest that a Still Pond location is more geographically logical for a combined facility. Most people in Betterton drive through Still Pond to get anywhere, and there is no banking, shopping, and little employment there. Why is it that Betterton residents are not receiving the same questionnaire?
- Walter Bowie, webmaster
Feb. 4, 2011
Yesterday the Kent County Planning and Zoning Commission met to review the application Of Ed Price and Nancy Ziolkowski. There was little discussion, as the members generally felt that the law allows for anyone who wants a demolition permit to get one. The members did unanimously agree to delay the demolition permit for 45 days to allow the Planning & Zoning Staff time to document the building. They also agreed with the recommendation of the Historic Preservation Commission to have the roof holes and missing windows covered to protect the building from the elements. Ed Price said that they had no way to get up onto the roof. Board member Jay Lancaster offered to come over and do it for them at no cost, a plan that was adopted.
Feb. 2, 2010
At Monday night's Kent County Historical Preservation Commission Meeting the owners of the Still Pond made public their plans for the Store and Post Office. In brief:
- They have put it on sale for $150,000 and are listing it with Sassafras River Realty
- They want a demolition permit so that they can demolish it if it doesn't sell soon. (amount of time was unspecified)
- They will not allow anyone on the property to fix the roof or make other repairs to help prevent it from deteriorating because of liability risks
- It will cost between $10,000 and $30,000 to demolish the building
- The gas tanks have to be removed unless the owners apply to the State for an extension
After much discussion and input from a number of people attending the meeting, the Commission passed a resolution to recommend to the Kent County Planning & Zoning Commission to deny the application. The reasons for denying the application included:
- The building is a significant historic structure that is still in good condition.
- There is significant community interest in saving the building.
- There isn't a demonstrated need to demolish as it appears that the property could be sold for more in its current condition.
- The loss of the building would adversely impact many surrounding property owners and the community in general.
- Tax credits of up to 40% are available to offset the cost of repairing the building because it is in a historic district
- New county setbacks would apply to an empty lot, making it less valuable
I was one of the people who stood up and made comments. I asked Nancy and Ed to allow myself and with volunteers to fix up the building to make it more salable to potential buyers. They declined, citing liability issues. Chairman Elizabeth Beckley suggested that anyone entering the property could sign a waiver holding them harmless in case of accident, but again they declined to consider that option. Beckley stressed the importance of covering the holes in the roof and windows to prevent further deterioration of the building.
Since Sassafras River Realty does not appear to have a website I can find, I would be happy to post any information about the property to be sold as a way to advertise the property. I could create a separate page that would say anything that they wish. They only need to contact me with the information and photos.
I will continue to post the volunteer pledge, in hopes that a potential buyer would consider volunteer help an asset. If someone wants to be taken off the list in view of the current situation, let me know.
- Walter Bowie, webmaster
Jan 25. 2011
I received the letter below from the Kent County Planning and Zoning office informing me of an application filed to demolish the Still Pond Store. The store was built in the 1860's and is the anchor for the village. It's hard to imagine what that corner would look like without it.
Most people familiar with renovation in Still Pond agree that the building is still in excellent condition, and was built to a standard that far exceeds current building practices. Yes, there is smoke and water damage, but most of the damage was restricted to the rear 20th century lean-to add-on in the back that can be easily removed or replaced. The interior would need to be totally gutted from water and smoke damage, but that would make upgrading of electric and plumbing cheaper, because all the plaster would be removed. If volunteers in the community worked together and donated labor and some materials, the structure could be saved relatively cheaply. Money these days is tight, but I don't know anyone who has heard about this tragedy who does not want to help. I would urge everyone reading this to make a volunteer pledge to the extent you are able. Attend the meetings listed on the letter below to express your opinion about the loss of one of the most important buildings in Still Pond, both commercially and historically.