ESLC to Break Ground on Eastern Shore Conservation Center
EASTON – Join Eastern Shore Land Conservancy for a groundbreaking with Gov. Martin O’Malley at the Eastern Shore Conservation Center on S. Washington Street.
O’Malley dedicated $1 million toward the historic renovation project in his FY2014 capital budget. The ceremony begins at 3 p.m. Friday, July 18, at the site of the former McCord building and neighboring Brick Row, the buildings that will become part of the Eastern Shore Conservation Center campus.
Also speaking will by former Gov. Harry Hughes, EPA Region III Administrator Shawn Garvin, and ESLC Capital Campaign co-Chairman Jenny Stanley.
ESLC since 1990 has helped protect more than 56,000 acres of farms, forests and wetlands. As the organization approached its 20th year, ESLC leaders realized Eastern Shore farms and forests are supported by and support Eastern Shore towns. The Shore’s unique rural communities can continue to thrive with the help of green infrastructure design, outdoor recreational opportunity, and access to local foods. ESLC has the resources and years of experience to recommend and implement good design and to help counsel community leaders about keeping towns great places to live, work, and play.
To that end, ESLC broadened its mission to include these things and is leading by example with the concept of the Eastern Shore Conservation Center. ESLC will leave its home in the beautiful woods, near the Wye River, and put their stake in a vulnerable area of the Town of Easton. In addition to bringing ESLC staff and skills to the community, ESLC leaders envision a new day for the community and for nonprofit collaboration.
The historic McCord Laundry Building and Brick Row are part of Easton’s National Register Historic District. Though currently abandoned, they are beautiful examples of early 20th Century commercial architecture. The project is design to have a catalytic effect on the South Washington Street corridor, where the renovation of the dilapidated McCord building and Brick Row, which was damaged by fire, has the ability to reenergize an important connection between the northern and southern neighborhoods in Easton. What is now vacant and lifeless will be a vibrant hub of community, conservation and learning.
It will bring approximately 50 jobs to downtown Easton and will serve as an example for conservationists, urban planning, community design and redevelopment experts of what can be done to retain healthy, walkable and economically sustainable rural towns.
ESLC will relocate to the building, and nonprofit partners, including the Town Creek Foundation and The Nature Conservancy, are signing two-year leases to be part of this collaborative environment. It will house public space for educational programming, forums, concerts and meetings about issues concerning Eastern Shore residents and organizations. It will offer a café and outdoor public leisure space to encourage conversation and collaboration among the tenants, as well as among community members.
Most importantly, it will be the catalyst for nonprofit organizations to work to address common challenges to our beautiful home on the Delmarva Peninsula and to educate and inspire the next generation of community-minded conservationists.