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Sharpsburg to get new mayor, street in 1997

January 04, 1997

By JULIE E. GREENE

Staff Writer

SHARPSBURG - Sharpsburg residents will get some new political leaders in 1997 and should see the renovation of Main Street wrapped up in the summer.

Vice Mayor George Kesler will officially take over as mayor during the mayor and Council's regular monthly meeting on Jan. 6, he said.

Kesler said he was sworn in on Dec. 26 at the Clerk of the Washington County Circuit Court's office.

"I hope that relations between the mayor and Council and town improve greatly over what they've been the last few months," Kesler said.

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To help meet that goal Kesler said he will contribute articles to the Sharpsburg Town Crier monthly newsletter to update residents on what's happening in town.

In recent months tensions have run high between Mayor Ron Milburn and several town residents and some Council members concerning trees Milburn had removed from the front of his Grove House property on Main Street.

The disagreement escalated from verbal arguments during a Council meeting to a public display by Milburn, who left a nasty note in the window of a storefront he owns at Town Square along with a piece of one of the trees he had cut down.

The note was to those "few town idiots who fought so hard and lost" in preventing Milburn from cutting down the historic trees that he said were dead and unsafe.

Kesler won't be the only change in political leadership.

Two Council members will be sworn in during the Jan. 6 meeting, including new Council member Hal Spielman. Incumbent Ralph Hammond will return to the Council.

Council members may select a new vice mayor to replace Kesler as early as the Jan. 6 meeting, he said.

The renovation of Main Street should be complete by the end of July, Kesler said. Renovations include sidewalk and curb reconstruction, water and sewer line reconstruction, road resurfacing and landscaping.

The $1.8 million renovations along Main Street from Sharpsburg Pike to Potomac Street began last August.

Sharpsburg water and sewer customers should receive their $60 annual credit by the end of June from the Town of Sharpsburg, Kesler said.

City officials approved the credits last year to help offset increases this fiscal year in water and sewer bills because of the Washington County Water and Sewer Department's $55 million debt.

The annual Sharpsburg Heritage Festival will be held on Sept. 12-14. The event will include a barn dance, a Civil War music program and concerts, walking tours, crafts fair, regional food, historical activities for children and a lecture program through Wednesday, Sept. 17, said Pat Holland, co-chairwoman for the 1997 festival.

A large re-enactment of the Battle of Antietam will be held that same September weekend in the area to commemorate the 135th anniversary of the Civil War's bloodiest single day of fighting.

Main Street will be closed that weekend for the festival.

The town also will hold its annual Memorial Day parade on Saturday, May 31.

Kesler said he wants to work with the town's Parks Committee on plans to add a soccer or volleyball field at the Lonnie L. Crampton Memorial Park off High Street.

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