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Aldermanic Candidate Gibson Calls For Redevelopment of Whitmore Garage

| September 20, 2021, 01:36 PM

Scott Gibson, a candidate for Ward 2 Alderman, called on City and County leaders to redevelop the Whitmore Garage located at 37 Clay Street. The garage serves two purposes: parking for County Government Staff as well as paid parking for the public.

“While there has been lots of talk about building One Annapolis, there seem to be too few elected leaders willing to recognize the damage done by this garage,” Gibson said. Community leader and local historian, Janice Hayes-Williams wrote in a 2018 column for the Capital Gazette that the Whitmore Garage “(c)ompleted the decimation of the old Fourth Ward during Urban Renewal.”

“As I talk with members of this community, I continue to hear about the need for resources. It is time we replace this garage with something the serves people – not cars,according to Gibson. 

The Arc of Central Maryland

Developed in the 1960s, the Whitmore Garage was made possible because 33 properties on the block, owned primarily by Black and Jewish residents, were surrendered to Anne Arundel County in the name of Urban Renewal. It was a vibrant economic corridor filled with hair salons, barbershops, grocery stores, hotels and restaurants, some of which were well-respected music venues.

Despite recent efforts to recognize the damage done by this garage – specifically the renaming of the adjacent Whitmore Park to The People’s Park – the garage remains.

Gibson envisions a long process for undoing the damage of Whitmore Garage. In the short term (and specifically while Hillman Garage is being redeveloped), Gibson advocates for the garage’s revenue to be re-invested in the community with input and oversight from neighborhood leaders.

Liquified Creative Annapolis

“A good start would be to see revenue from that garage be used to expand programming at the Stanton Center,” Gibson said. “While revenue may be modest at first, I think it is reasonable to expect that revenue and usage will increase when the Hillman Garage goes offline. The community is clear that we need more programming at the Stanton Center. Having this garage help pay for that would be a good first step.”

Gibson’s long-term plan is more ambitious. “Once the Hillman Garage is complete, I think the City and County need to partner to replace the Whitmore Garage with a building that better serves the community. Imagine if that land supported workforce development training and satellite classrooms for the community college. Imagine if it contained a one-stop-shop for community resources. Then we would have something that uplifts the neighborhood and connects it to more people in Annapolis.”

To accomplish this, Gibson suggests engaging the community in “visioning sessions” for the redevelopment and having County employees park at the Stadium and shuttle into work similar to state employees.

“If we truly want One Annapolis, then we must start recognizing that this community was directly damaged by local government action. It is going to take local government action to repair that.”

NOTE: Scott Gibson is a candidate running for Alderman for Ward 2 of the City of Annapolis. The Whitmore Garage is located within that Ward.

Category: Local News, NEWS, POLITICAL NEWS

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