May 22, 2024
Annapolis, US 81 F

A New City Dock: Final presentation on Tuesday afternoon

The City Dock Action Committee (CDAC) will report their findings to the Annapolis City Council on Tuesday, January 14, 2020 from 3 to 5 p.m. The 100-person effort spent eight months collaborating with residents and businesses to make recommendations on the future of City Dock.

“We know that the City of Annapolis is facing a serious threat from sea level rise and climate change in the form of ongoing flooding which impacts residents and businesses. In early 2019, Stanford University looked at the economic impact of our nuisance flooding in downtown and found that it costs our businesses hundreds of thousands of dollars each year. In October, a NOAA study confirmed that the City of Annapolis is the municipality that is most threatened by coastal flooding and it is only going to get worse,” Buckley said. “We can no longer afford to delay a solution for City Dock.”

The impetus for creating the CDAC came from the Urban Land Institute’s TAP study. The CDAC was establishing a broad-based consensus and identifying an implementation strategy for addressing long standing issues including  flooding, parking, stormwater, maritime issues, historic preservation and place making at Annapolis City Dock.

The CDAC initiated their efforts by identifying five guiding principles for the future:

  1. Enliven the pedestrian experience by creating and programming inviting, green community space with access to the water;
  2. Ensure the future health and viability of City Dock businesses while committing to a high quality of life for the adjacent residential neighborhoods;
  3. Provide new accessible parking options with any relocation of existing parking;
  4. Preserve and enhance Downtown Annapolis’ Maritime Heritage, its authentic character and viewsheds by honoring the exiting building/zoning envelope and maritime focus;
  5. Reduce flooding at City Dock immediately while implementing long-term comprehensive resiliency efforts.

Mayor Buckley, on behalf of the City of Annapolis, along with Robert Clark of Historic Annapolis, tapped nationally recognized land use expert Eileen Fogarty and Historic Annapolis’ Bill Kardash to serve as co-chairs. An award-winning planner on both coasts, Fogarty was previously director of planning for the cities of Santa Monica, Santa Cruz, Annapolis and Alexandria (VA).

Buckley named stakeholders to participate on the committee as members of issue-oriented “Action Teams.” Each Action Team tackled key aspects of the City Dock plan, including:

Design/ PlacemakingFinancial Tools/DevelopmentProgramming/Community Access
Parking/Pedestrian and Bike ConnectionsMaritimeResiliency
Burtis HouseBusiness/Property Owners and RetailCommunity Benefits, Character and Livability

The City Dock Action Committee and Working Teams interviewed residents, business owners, elected officials, City staff, and experts in engineering, landscape architecture and emergency preparedness. There were numerous community outreach meetings with both the business and residential communities. Over the past eight months, the City Dock Action Committee provided regular updates on their progress to the public and Mayor and City Council.

A preview of the plan was presented in October in City Council chambers with all members of the Working Teams in attendance. That preview was televised on City of Annapolis TV, Facebook and YouTube.  The CDAC presented a Consensus Plan which envisions a ‘Proud Place With Purpose’ at Annapolis’ waterfront: the drawings and team recommendations  included a proposal to optimize parking opportunities, rework traffic patterns, and create a vibrant, walkable, water accessible and greener public space.

The plan will also elevate City Dock by six feet with flood gates that would protect the City up to nine feet. The design works in tandem with solutions being put forth by the United States Naval Academy.

“We have to be full partners with the Naval Academy because if they build up their seawall, all of the water that stays out of their campus will simply flood downtown,” Fogarty explained. She added, “the other component that we have been sensitive to is to ensure that traffic is optimized and that downtown doesn’t lose a single parking space.”

Downtown’s Noah Hillman Garage, a City-owned asset, is at the end of its service life. The City is currently seeking vendors who will engage in a public-private partnership to rebuild the garage (adding capacity) while leveraging future revenues to offset construction of the garage and the infrastructure costs associated with flood-proofing downtown through the rebuild of City Dock. The City issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) in December and responses are due back in February. The City will also look to other revenue sources, not limited to grants and other county, state and federal funding sources.

“We look forward to being the administration that takes decisive action to save the Historic District and to give Annapolitans a place a City Dock they can love. The plan is the downtown that Annapolitans have long deserved,” Buckley said.

The National Park Service Chesapeake Bay Office provided funding for the City Dock Action Committee effort through the Chesapeake and Coastal Grants Gateway.

The hearing will be televised on City of Annapolis TV (Comcast and Verizon), Facebook LIVE and YouTube from 3 to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, January 14, 2020.

The Maryland Crabs talked to Bill Kardash and Eileen Fogarty about the plan just as it was wrapping up.  Have a listen:

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