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Wise Hopes to Continue on Town Council
Leonardtown, MD - 4/25/2012
By Dick Myers
Walter Wise, 83, is a candidate for re-election to the Leonardtown Commissioners in the May 1 election. Wise is a Leonardtown area native, raised in a house at the corner of Route 5 and 244 across from Leonardtown Middle School. His father ran a country store there. His father was born and raised on Medley’s Neck and Wise attended the former Our Lady’s School on Medley’s Neck. His mother was a Mattingly. He is now retired. He worked for himself until 1975 and then worked for the county’s public works department and retired in 1995. He then ran Triple A Materials for five years. He’s been a town commissioner for 10 years and before that for 12 years on the town planning commission. He has been married since 1954 and they have six children, eight grandchildren and two great grand-children.
The Bay Net: Why did you decide to run again?
Wise: I ran because I wanted to run and I wanted to continue serving the town and particularly completion of the Leonardtown Wharf properties, also the winery property. When the work was going on there I was there every day.
The Bay Net: You have worked pretty close with the town’s water and sewer department, public works. Do you bring expertise to that?
Wise: I am not an expert on sewer and water. But I am concerned about the sewer and water continuing to be upgraded as necessary for the capacity of the town. As you well know, the sewer and water is the lifeblood of the town. Without the sewer and water there is no town. We are very fortunate to have the plant we have and the expansion that we have had. Right now we are in the middle of working the way out to the Clark Farm.
TBN: Is the plant pretty well run and the people who operate it?
Wise: I think it is very well run with the people who are there. They are well trained. We have an inspector now for the sewer and water. Like these houses up there (new houses being constructed across from Tudor Hall), he is there every day. He is on top of things.
TBN: What would you like to see done at the Wharf.
Wise: I would like to see some business down there. Of course everybody says restaurants. Sure, I would love to see a restaurant. But I would like to see other businesses down there.
TBN: You can’t beat the location.
Wise; No! It’s a beautiful location. Look at the number of people who go down there now. I go down there and open my mail. It’s relaxing. I also go down to Abell’s Wharf and sit. I love to watch them down there fishing. Last week there was a man down there catching catfish that would just fit into the coolers. He said the day before he caught one at Leonardtown Wharf that he couldn’t get in the cooler. I guess I am just a country boy.
TBN: How would you equate what the town is now versus what it used to be?
Wise: You have a change of businesses. When I was a kid I worked at a grocery store (where the Catholic gift shop is now located). The department store, Sparlings, is there on the corner where Norris (NGO) is now. Nice department store. At that time we had a Dodge dealer, a Plymouth dealer, behind John Norris’s, and next store was a Ford dealer and of course the Bell Motor Company. And there were two theaters, believe it or not, the New and down where the beauty shop is there was the Duke Theater. We had two bowling alleys. We had two bowling alleys, two theaters and four automobile dealers. Things have changed.
TBN: I guess there isn’t much that can be done to bring that back?
Wise; we had a big bowling alley when I was a kid, big enough for ten setters. You had the kids set the pins, which I did quite a bit for five centers a game. If you made two dollars a night you did good. It has changed, but I guess it has changed for the better.
TBN: What would you like to see at Tudor Hall Farm?
Wise: I guess I am dreaming, but I would like to see a golf course there. I think it would draw people. I would like to see another Leonard’s Grant subdivision there.
TBN: You think that has turned out pretty good.
Wise: Yeah. I don’t want to see cheaper housing there. I want to see good quality housing. Of course I would love to see the dream of having a hotel or motel there.
TBN: Did you want to see the new library in town?
TBN: One of the county commissioners said it was the inability of the community to get together on that that stopped it. The council wanted one thing and some people wanted it out at the Hayden Farm.
Wise: From what I gather it was the directors (of the library) who didn’t want it downtown. We have cleaned that area (the town preferred location) up as you know.
TBN: Are you going to continue to work to get that back of track.
Wise: Yes sir!
TBN: Has the town actually been given the land (for the library)?
Wise: There have been promises made.
TBN: Is the town pretty well run with the staff you have?
Wise: I think we have a very good town staff. I think we have two ladies there, Laschelle (McKay) and Rebecca (Sothoron) and all of them, they all are very good in their jobs.
TBN: Some of the candidates say there should be night meetings. Are you open to that?
Wise: It’s up to each individual. I know it’s nice for the people who come. But they have a tendency to keep you there all night long.
TBN: Tell the voters in Leonardtown why you think they should re-elect you.
Wise: I think I am familiar with what’s going on in town. I think I work well with the staff and that’s very important. I respect the staff. I am as qualified as anybody to continue as town commissioner.
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