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Black Lives Matter supporters descended on High Street today in favor of a mural permit that might not have the support of the Chestertown Council to move forward.
The proposed mural submitted with the permit request would run from an area in front of Stam Hall to Cross Street and read “Black Lives Matter.”
The updated proposal came out of negotiations between Ward 2 Councilman Tom Herz and residents downtown, some in the 100 Block of High Street, who opposed the original plans. One proposal would have run the mural from Water Street to Cross Street, and another would run the mural from Queen Street to Cross Street.
But recently, Herz’s support for the mural became uncertain when the drawings indicated that the mural would not begin right at Lawyers Row and extend to Cross Street only.
In a brief phone call today, Herz said the final permit drawing submitted “was not what I agreed to in good faith” with the [Social Action Committee for Racial Justice] and the permit requesters. He said he would only agree to a mural that was between the crosswalks at Lawyers Row and Cross Street. Herz said what he agreed to came out of negotiations with residents in the 100 block of High Street and others.
Herz said he was meeting with the town’s attorney, Stewart Barroll, ahead of the council meeting tonight and that he may be reluctant to support the mural if passage would result in serious legal challenges to the town.
Maria Wood, one of the permit requesters, said they would scale the mural to run between Lawyers Row and Cross Street if that’s what was needed to secure the approval of the council.
“We’re willing to negotiate it,” she said.