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Historic Annapolis working with the Mayor on the future of City Dock

Date: Capital Gazette, August 26, 2018, Robert C. Clark

In late June, the National Trust for Historic Preservation designated City Dock one of the “11 Most Endangered Historic Places” in America. A rezoning proposal that could relax height/bulk restrictions and compromise viewsheds gave preservationists great concern and thus prompted the designation.

At the event announcing the designation, Mayor Gavin Buckley stated: “We all want the same thing … we all want a better downtown." He then made a commitment to "reimagine City Dock together”, stating, “I’m here to preserve the City of Annapolis.”

Historic Annapolis has taken Mayor Buckley at his word. Since the announcement, we have met with the Mayor and are working with senior city officials to establish a clear understanding of common ground.

There are many “knowns.” We know that our community has grappled with these issues for decades; we know that we don’t want another study that sits on a shelf; and we know that we have a city administration that is committed to change.

We also know there are many visions for a reimagined City Dock, so Historic Annapolis is committed to partnering with our City and community leaders to establish parameters for a context-sensitive redesign of City Dock, one that embraces the protection and celebration of our National Historic Landmark District.

As I have stated previously, Historic Annapolis is not opposed to new development. We are, however, adamantly opposed to development that is dependent upon hastily conceived policy and regulatory changes that sacrifice the historic character and maritime setting that defines City Dock.

As is well-documented by The Capital in its Aug. 1, article titled “History Repeats,” City Dock has a rich, if gritty maritime history from dock-side trade to shipbuilding, oyster shucking to steamboats, lumber yards to oil companies. Today’s City Dock serves as a backdrop for a vibrant boating scene and a prosperous tourism trade.

We at Historic Annapolis promote the continued growth of local businesses that support these essential commercial enterprises and support downtown property owners who revitalize vacant and underutilized buildings.

That is why we are working cooperatively with the city and our elected leaders, along with our partners at the National Trust and Preservation Maryland, the Ward One Residents Association, the downtown business community and City residents, especially those nearby, to formulate a plan for moving forward.

As a first step, we are hosting an Urban Land Institute Technical Assistance Panel that will provide our community expert, multidisciplinary, and independent advice on the issues surrounding City Dock. Historic Annapolis has raised most of the funds needed to host the ULI TAP through grants awarded by the National Trust and by Preservation Maryland, and is currently working to raise the remaining portion through private donations.

The ULI panel will be comprised of regional and national professionals well versed in real estate economics, historic preservation, sustainability, traffic and parking, waterfront redevelopment, tourism and land use issues.

The goal of the TAP is to serve as a “prelude to action” by looking at past studies and future land use issues. The TAP will conduct stakeholder interviews, gather public input and present findings, making recommendations on a variety of issues, from flooding adaptation strategies to historic redevelopment to parking alternatives.

This year ULI is conducting TAPs in a mix of small and large cities nationwide. Annapolis joins the following long, diverse list of communities addressing issues critical to local economies, infrastructure, the environment and downtown revitalization with ULI’s help: Erie, Pennsylvania; St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands; Port Aransas Texas; Sacramento, California; Detroit, Michigan; and Miami Beach, Fla.

Historic Annapolis is pleased to provide Annapolis with this ULI TAP as a resource – a resource to help the Annapolis community arrive at a plan that is right for our city. We invite residents, business and property owners to learn how to get involved by going to the Historic Annapolis website (

Robert Clark has served as the president and CEO of Historic of Annapolis since September 2012. He currently serves on the Boards of The Friends of St. John’s College and Visit Annapolis and is a member of the City of Annapolis Heritage Commission.

To view the article on The Capital's website, please click here



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