EDIT: To clear up any confusion, the park will remain open to the public as it always has, and public access to the water will still be available from dawn to dusk as it always has been. If anyone wants to launch a kayak, canoe, or paddleboard at either location, the water access is available and open to the public. The lease termination only affects the operations of Capital SUP.
The Board of Directors at the museum has decided not to renew the annual lease. The park campus has recently undergone several improvements, and the construction of an entertainment pavilion is about to get underway. Alice Estrada, President of the museum, told Eye On Annapolis that the park campus only has 30 parking spots, and with expanded programs at the museum, there is frequently not enough space for the paddleboarders and guests. “We have been very grateful for the partnership with Capital SUP over the last four years; however, the Park campus is evolving, and with finite parking, we had to make some tough decisions,” said Estrada.
Contributing to this decision is the City of Annapolis (who actually owns the property and has a long-term lease with the museum) has recently purchased 6 acres of property along the Chesapeake Bay at Elktonia Beach and will be making this a passive park. The only parking in the area for that facility will also be at the museum’s park campus.
Kevin Haigis, one of the owners of Capital SUP, was taken a bit by surprise. Haigis told Eye On Annapolis that the business had been a great partner with the museum and contributed hundreds of volunteer hours annually to make sure the park was well maintained, clean, and safe. He did not recall many times when parking was an issue for Capital SUP or the museum.
Capital SUP was displaced five years ago when its landlord, the former Sarles and Petrini Shipyards, sold for the development of the South Annapolis Yacht Center. After some tense months, a deal was struck with the Annapolis Maritime Museum & Park to operate out of the Ellen Moyer Nature Park.
Capital SUP has been instrumental in getting some of the community’s underserved youth out on the water via their Live Water Programs. They also offer camps, group paddles, special events, lessons, and rentals.
Fortunately, Capital SUP does have the concession for canoes, kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards at Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis, and memberships will be honored at that location.
With Labor Day having come and gone in 2023, Capital SUP’s season is winding down over the next few weeks. They are open at both locations 8 am to 6 pm on weekends–weather permitting. The lease expires at the end of September 2022, when they will vacate the property on Edgewood Road, and then the search for a new base will continue.