It’s Open!

| July 11, 2011 | 1 Comment

Annapolis Mayor, Josh Cohen addresses crowd of residents, businesspeople, and local dignatories

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UPDATE:  Video has been added below!

“It’s open!” And with those two words uttered by Annapolis Mayor Josh Cohen, in front of a crowd of residents and local dignitaries and businesspeople, the icon that is the Annapolis Market House opened its doors to the public!

The crowd consisted of about 100 residents along with many City employees who helped bring this project to fruition, representatives of all of the contractors and vendors, the Annapolis City Council, many local business leaders including Steve Samaras, Ted Levitt, and more. Politicians were out in force as well including County Executive John R. Leopold, County Councilmen Dick Ladd and Chris Trumbauer, State Senator John Astle, and Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates Mike Busch.

l to r : Aldermen, Arnett, Pfeiffer, Finlayson, Senator John Astle, Mayor Josh Cohen, Speaker Mike Busch, Aldermen, Hoyer, Paone, City Manager Mike Mallinoff, Public Works Director David Jarrell, Project Coordinator Lilly Openshaw

Yes, after countless years of floundering, the doors to the iconic Market House once again opened themselves to the public welcoming visitors in droves for the first time in many years. Many thought it could not be done. Many had their own idea of how it should be done. The final iteration is not what Mayor Josh Cohen initially wanted, but in the end–it’s open!

I want to take a paragraph to eat some crow. In late May, the Mayor came out with this insanely aggressive schedule about the re-opening. He was going to modify the building, improve it, select a manager, find tenants who wanted short term leases and get the thing opened by July 11th. Personally, I thought it was a pipe dream and laid out my reasoning in no uncertain terms. While I hate to be wrong, I have to give credit to Mayor Cohen, the City of Annapolis and everyone who pulled it together–I was wrong and here is my public mea culpa. The feat was nothing less than impressive and from the reaction of the residents this morning, the selection of vendors is a home run!  Steve Samaras, owner of Zachary’s Jewelers and President of the Downtown Business Partnership also said he was thrilled with the mix.

While the vendors are a great mix, one of the best ideas was a “Community Corner” where local community organizations will be able to have table space on a weekly (or bi-weekly) basis–for the opening, the Kunta Kinte, Alex Haley Foundation was represented. There are two large bulletin boards for posting community events. If the goal for the Market House is to become a focus for the local community, there is no better way to draw them there than to offer a place to learn about what is happening in the community.

A bustling Market House

On the other hand, we want the tourists to come as well. So, the Annapolis & Anne Arundel County Conference & Visitors Bureau also has a home to assist the visitors who are so important to our city.

The remaining vendors are a good mix of local businesses offering a variety of food choices and shopping at reasonable cost for everyone.

The community has been clamoring for a re-opened Market House for days weeks months years. The City has stepped up to the plate and put together a great plan. Now it is our turn. Take some time this week and drive, bike, walk, or take a bus (the new Circulator might be a good choice) and visit the Market House. It is open daily until 8:00pm.

To see more images of the opening this morning, please visit our online gallery!

Video footage of Squire Fred’s Mayoral Proclamation and comments by Mayor Cohen is below.

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About the Author ()

John is the publisher and editor of Eye On Annapolis. As a resident and business owner in Anne Arundel County for more than 15 years, he realized that there was something missing in terms of community news--and Eye On Annapolis was born in late spring 2009. John's background is in the travel industry as a business owner, industry speaker, and travel writer. In terms of blogging and social media, he cut his teeth with MSNBC.com.