This Port Street Small Area Master Plan, developed by the Town of Easton and the Easton Economic Development Corporation, is meant to guide future development for the area known as Easton Point, and the Port Street corridor connecting Easton Point to downtown Easton. Through its redevelopment, Port Street will become a vibrant gateway into the Town, with diverse uses including cultural, housing, open spaces, walkability, recreation, restaurants and retail.
The redevelopment plan is meant to provide a framework for evaluating and locating future commercial and residential projects, determining appropriate levels and locations for civic, commercial and recreational activities, and guiding land use decisions into the future. While focused on the Port Street corridor, this plan was developed in the context of the broader town and regional landscape of land conservation and smart growth, and informed by broader trends in land use, innovative economic development, and protecting the natural resources of the Chesapeake Bay. This plan is intended to be compatible with the Easton Town Master Plan and the Easton Point Park Master Plan.
The plan was developed with citizen engagement throughout, in the form of a 47 person committee that met regularly over two years and engaged hundreds of citizens, residents, government officials, property owners and businesses. It includes an enhanced gateway of a section of Easton Parkway; with traffic calming infrastructure and a rail trail extension to the water’s edge. The plan points to a waterfront destination at Easton Point accessible to all, with an 11 acre park remediating a brownfield parcel, a waterfront promenade and plaza, a boatel, restaurants, retail, civic buildings, a farmer’s/seafood center/market, healthy lifestyle center and mixed-income housing to include affordable housing options, duplexes, co-living, condos, apartments and townhouses. A new cultural center and University/Innovation Center hub will anchor Easton’s gateway. The plan calls for environmentally sustainable practices and green technologies. Dynamic interpretation will trace themes of the history of Easton Point through stories of commerce, transportation, manufacturing, maritime, sail and steam, shipbuilding, slavery, the Underground Railroad, agriculture and Chesapeake fisheries. The Port Street Corridor will connect to The Hill, Easton’s historic free black neighborhood with interpretation, education and enhanced tourism opportunities.
Based on the initial draft master plan and study, it is believed that the Port Street corridor could result in over $250 million in public and private investment over the next 15 years resulting in 28,000 square feet of new retail space; 53,000 square feet of community/civic space; 90,000 square feet of office space; 323 new construction affordable and market-rate units; 250 new hotel rooms; new waterside public parks, and an expanded boat ramp. Linkages between downtown and the waterfront will be strengthened through investments in streetscape and bike trails.
“We know that the majority of population growth over the next 15 years in Talbot County will occur in Easton. Port Street and Easton Point have the potential to absorb much of that growth responsibly while providing our citizens public waterfront access, a new park, affordable housing, new jobs, and improved streetscapes. This (small area) master plan will provide the much needed road map for that to happen.”–Mayor Robert “Bob” Willey