June 24, 2024
Annapolis, US 86 F

EDITORIAL: Caribbean beach resort or Annapolis City Dock?

EDIT: Per Susan O’Brien, spokesperson for the City of Annapolis, the rendering below was a result of the public input offered at the place building meeting several weeks ago and designed to take all the public ideas and show what City Dock could be.

I read the Capital article this morning about Mayor Buckley forging ahead with the re-zoning of City Dock despite initially not having ANY votes to do so.  Apparently he thinks he has them now despite the strong objection of Alderwoman Elly Tierney and Alderman Rob Savidge.

I am not sure who he has on his side, but before they vote, they need to ask many questions and be sure of the answers before they vote to potentially change the cultural landscape of Annapolis for generations.

I am all for change. I agree with the Mayor that we need it. I loved the idea of his vision for City Dock during the campaign…move the parking…spray park… and hey, although a bit biased the ferris wheel was kind of cool too.

But on the campaign trail, there was no mention of a large hotel. The moving of the Burtis House to a new location, boat houses, concession stands, or two beaches with chaise lounges. In fact, none of this was mentioned when the idea of the hotel was first floated in January.

Back then it was a hotel with parking for tour buses on City Dock and an underground garage. Now that strong community (and legislative) opposition has come up, it looks more like a high-end Caribbean beach resort than anything else. It certainly has no connection to the historic nature of the City.

What is the Mayor doing? Throwing shit against the wall and seeing what might stick?

He is trying to push this through the Council in a work session without public input–a move that has never bade well with previous Mayors.

Looking at the latest rendering in the Capital, it seems like the City owned City Dock is being sold (perhaps not by deed) to the hotel. Who is going to be utilizing the two man-made beaches and swimming in the harbor? Who will be sauntering up to the concession stands from relaxing in their chaise lounges on the fake inland beach? I’ll go out on a limb here and say it is not the local community.

In fact, if you look at the rendering, it seems that this re-development is nothing more than a grand, well landscaped entrance to the proposed hotel. What amenities are present for the local community to use? The existing Susan Campbell Park–landscaped and not bricked and the stage.

Will this grand entrance be the responsibility of the City? Will we need to hire more people to rake the beaches each morning and wipe down the chaise lounges for the hotel guests? Who will man the concession stands? Will that revenue go to the City? And what is with the Boat House? I presume there will be boats for rent—who will operate it?

Sorry Mr. Mayor, I am all for change, but this really smells and any public or legislative opposition you get is well deserved.  You, and those votes you do have, better hope that Save Annapolis does not rear its head again–they have an uncanny knack for sinking second terms!

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