Yet another (very) different look at City Dock... complete with a ferris wheel
Date: Eye on Annapolis, August 17, 2018, John Frenaye
They say that the only two things in life that are guaranteed are death and taxes. Well, maybe those and controversy over what to do with the Annapolis City Dock.
The last time we looked, the rendering had it looking a lot more like a Jamaican all-inclusive resort than anything on the eastern seaboard. There were two man-made beaches, snack shacks, boat ramps, chaise lounges, and an outdoor cafe. The word from the City was that this is what the “people” wanted after attending a “placemaking” session with Fred Kent.
But now, there is a different vision for City Dock in play that has the ear (and eye) of Mayor Gavin Buckley. Designed by Roy Higgs of Roy Higgs International, this is perhaps one of the most unique visions of City Dock, and perhaps the most workable for many. Higgs met with Buckley to pitch the plan recently and the Mayor seemed impressed. For me, Higgs’ design keeps traffic (pedestrian and vehicle) flowing and there are alternate routes and very few dead ends. Keeping in mind that you cannot please everyone…
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This vision has yet to be presented to the City Council, Historic Annapolis, the Ward One Residents’ Association or the public at large, but there are several aspects of this design with a positive aspect:
- First off, the ferris wheel
- Direct connectivity from the city to the harbor and Bay.
- The viewshed down Main Street is wide open with the continuation of Main Street
- The 35,000 of new development can spurn retail and pedestrians to walk
- The return of an outdoor farmer’s market adjacent to the Market House
- The ability to hedge off sea-level rise with elevated “commons” area and the continuation of Newman Street
- Additional access and egress to City Dock for pedestrians, cars, and emergency vehicles
- City Dock becomes a more walkable park of the City with points of interest/ “pond”/ seasonal ice rink
- Parking for new hotel would be handled by Prince Georges Street ala Annapolis Waterfront Hotel and above grade
- Traffic signal at Main and Compromise woudl facilitate pedestrian movement
- Pedestrian only areas would likely be a benefit to local merchants
- Additional incentives for people to stay in the area
- Hotel scaled back and fits in the footprint of existing buildings
- Significant more greening
- The “Ego Pond” coincides with the Mayor’s vision of having City Dock for everyone…adults and children alike.
And of course, as with any idea, there is another side to the story. And as I look through this, there are some drawbacks.
- There is no defined plan to house the 100 or so cars currently parked on City Dock
- The US Boat Shows will need to re-configure their space as it exists now
- The Ego Pond has potential to be a significant ongoing expense
- No specific location for the relocated Burtis House
- Pedestrian flow at Randall and Dock at Market House is still unaddressed
- Cost of extending Main and Newman Streets
It is anyone’s guess where this will go, or if it will go. This is a significant re-imagining and re-connecting of City Dock and certainly one that will not be accomplished in one (or maybe two) Mayoral terms. And if it were to move forward, there would need to be assurances that it would be seen to completion. Pantelides stopped the City Dock Master Plan. Buckley stopped the public works building and Main Street re-bricking projects; so there is inherent danger in an administration change and the political winds of the day.
Now that the Market House is open and a success, stay tuned to see what lies ahead for the Annapolis City Dock.
To view the article on Eye on Annapolis's website, please click here.