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Gavin Buckley: Imagining the future of City Dock must involve all stakeholders

Date: Capital Gazette, October 20, 2018, Mayor Gavin Buckley

Next week, through the generous support of the Historic Annapolis Foundation and its partners, the Urban Land Institute will convene a Technical Assistance Panel of experts from the fields of architecture, economic development, urban development, transportation and preservation to analyze the future of Annapolis City Dock.

The city of Annapolis looks forward to hearing the results of this effort that also includes dozens of stakeholders from the Annapolis community.

The current synergy of City Dock is undeniable. We just celebrated the opening of the new 110 Compromise St. building. The Annapolis Yacht Club has returned to its home at the foot of Spa Creek Bridge. The new residential transformation is underway at 9 St. Mary’s St. The beautiful new Annapolis Market House is thriving and performing above all expectations.

Across Ego Alley, there is continued success of Mission BBQ in the former Stevens Hardware location and the other merchants along Dock Street. The future use of the Harbor Square Mall also is evolving as a hub for arts and culture.

Just over a year from now, the city will break ground for the first phase of its flood mitigation project on Compromise Street. Soon after, we will begin the replacement of the Hillman Garage off of Main Street that will help increase parking opportunities.

Further down Dock Street, we now have a huge opportunity with the departure of AYC from its temporary home and the eventual departure of the National Sailing Hall of Fame to continue this synergy to an area that nearly everyone agrees should not be a parking lot on the city’s best waterfront property. We have an opportunity to re-imagine a City Dock that prioritizes people, not cars.

The city alone cannot afford to create what so many would like to see on our city’s best waterfront real estate — a park or public space that welcomes families, perhaps a tree or two, recreational opportunities, public access to the water and more.

We must find ways to leverage private/public partnerships. In addition, the city is working with the state of Maryland to hopefully take control of the historic Burtis house and property.

All of these wheels in motion along our waterfront point us in the direction that the time to seize the day and determine the future of City Dock is now.

Over the centuries, City Dock has evolved from a sleepy, Colonial waterfront village to an industrial port, to now a busy city center and major tourism destination. Any future design must and will respect this history. From the unfortunate history of the slave trade to the growth of our maritime industry, we have a great opportunity to create a City Dock that respects the past and welcomes the future for all.

One thing is very clear, we must listen to all stakeholders — residents from all wards of the city, business owners, historians, community leaders, the Naval Academy, recreational and transportation planners, environmental and public art advocates, tourism experts and others.

We must protect and enhance the viewshed of the water and scenic vista. As our recently completed Cultural Landscape Report summarizes, we must “develop City Dock as a ‘mixing’ place where all communities possess ‘ownership.’ ” Good community space builds a good community.

The ULI TAP will examine all of these aspects while determining its recommendations for the future of City Dock. These experts must hear from us. Speak up at the public comment opportunity from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in City Hall. We look forward to your creative and innovative ideas.

The future is now and it’s ours for the shaping. Let’s keep the momentum going and make this a successful grassroots effort.

To view this article on The Capital's, please click here. 


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