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Conserve, steward, and advocate for the unique rural landscape of the Eastern Shore.

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ESLC Releases Visioning Book for East New Market

Eastern Shore Land Conservancy (ESLC) recently released the published results of East New Market’s place work[s]hop. A collaborative community design initiative founded by ESLC and Urban Dialogues, Inc., place work[s]hop is designed for the specific needs of Eastern Shore small towns. It combines local community knowledge with the design and planning knowledge of local architects, planners, preservationists and policy-makers.

The entire community of East New Market created a vision for their community which included drawings, input and ideas about the best strategies for helping East New Market become a vibrant small town again. Their participation in the place work[s]hop process began when a historic property featuring one of the town’s oldest homes – Friendship Hall- came under threat of development.

“We were approached by Mayor Caroline Cline and Dorchester County Tourism Director Amanda Fenstermaker to help East New Market determine the best solution to save Friendship Hall,” said Jake Day, ESLC’s Town Planning Manager. “We quickly realized these concerns were greater than just one property and place work[s]hop was an ideal way to empower the town and its residents with the tools and expertise to determine the future needs of the community.”

As a result of this process, the threatened property is close to becoming a public park and the community developed – with the help of the leading organizations and many volunteers – a set of strategies for responding to the town’s most pressing challenges. This book tells their story and provides the town with a roadmap for implementing these strategies. It was officially presented to the town at their annual Community Dinner earlier this month and is available for purchase via ESLC’s website.

“Ensuring that town leaders and residents are equipped to lead the way on implementing the recommendations independent of us is the most important goal of place work[s]hop and – lucky for us – achieved in East New Market.,” said Day. “The land around Friendship Hall is now under contract, the Town has amended its charter to enable the issuance of bonds and this month it is pursuing the issuance of its first municipal bond. If all goes well, there will be a public park at Friendship Hall this year.”

This type of work is fundamental to ESLC’s relationship with Eastern Shore towns in the future and will be a major focus of ESLC’s upcoming conference “Vibrant Towns” scheduled for March 18 at the Tidewater Inn in Easton.

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