Mayor Dan Burris talks about the landscaping area dedicated to the late councilman Bob Combs. Photo by Dick Myers.

Leonardtown, MD — A former Leonardtown mayor and a late town councilman have been honored in the dedication of the Port of Leonardtown Park. The pavilion at the park was dedicated to former mayor J. Harry “Chip” Norris, III (show at left). And the landscaping was dedicated to the late councilman Robert Combs.

The dedication ceremony was held Oct. 30 at the new pavilion at the park which abuts McIntosh Run and the Port of Leonardtown Winery on Route 5.

The parkland is at the site of the former State Highway Administration garage. Norris had a vision to revitalize the area and worked on a purchase deal from the state for a mere $14,365 which was based on the original 1930 cost of the land. Norris quipped about that original cash outlay for the land: “I got a grant for it.”

During the ceremony Norris also credited former St. Mary’s County Commissioners’ President Tommy McKay with helping bring the winery to fruition. McKay was in attendance at the dedication, as were Delegate Tony O’Donnell [R – District 29C] and Board of Education member Rita Weaver.

Combs’ wife Judy and other members of their family were also on hand for the landscaping dedication. Mayor Dan Burris, who presided over the ceremony, said “Bob had a passion for landscaping and he jumped in and made it his project.”   

Burris noted that the cover of the pavilion came from the top of the 1924 Church Street Water Tower which was demolished in 2012–indeed a creative reuse. The top, ladder and ball were preserved and reconstructed by a local business, Hilltop Welding.

The pavilion sits amidst a 58-acre habitat for many birds, especially Baltimore orioles, wild turkeys and bald eagles.

“Visitors to the park can launch their kayak or stand-up paddle boards and paddle their way through a beautiful, scenic, serene two-and-a-half mile water trail to Leonardtown Wharf Public Park,” according to the program handed out at the dedication.

The town developed the park using two Community Parks and Playground Grants totaling $363,000, which the town matched with like funds.

Both the pavilion and the landscaping area now have plaques in honor of Norris and Combs.

Contact Dick Myers at