What Do You Think? City Dock Needs and Upgrade
Mar 01, 2016 01:51PM ● Published by Cate Reynolds
If you are interested in seeing passionate emotions surface, simply mention the need to re-invent City Dock to any Annapolitan. The views of our fellow citizens range from, “don’t change a thing” to “the area needs a complete overhaul.” Downtown Annapolis must take a hard look at itself if it hopes to be a more compelling place for both visitors and residents. The City Dock area looks empty and is not particularly user friendly. Our City could be a far more compelling place if our City’s leadership had the political will and courage to take on the challenge.
The City of Annapolis has little waterfront that it actually owns. The area the city does control should certainly provide open vistas to the bay, continue to supply convenient parking, find a way to help businesses thrive, and the waterfront needs to serve as a vital two-way gateway to the Chesapeake Bay and the world beyond. We do not need towering buildings, complicated roadways, and closed access to City Dock. The debate of what to do has been going on for many years with little action. Sure the sea wall on Ego Alley is being renovated and the clean up several years ago made City Dock a little better. But, the waterfront is a mess now, starting with the Annapolis Yacht Club after its tragic fire and the emptiness all around the waterfront.
An aerial view shows the problem. The whole area is dominated by parking. It is a shame the Green Street School parking lot did not become a garage. Protestors exploiting school children screamed that the playground would be lost. So, now we have an inefficient parking area with a postage stamp sized playground. The playground could have been on the roof of the garage. It would have provided a wonderful vista to the Bay for students. It seems to me a garage could still be built.
Other ideas include creating a wider walkway along the water, building a band shell, finding a better spot to place the dock master’s building, improving the planning and zoning regulations that help entrepreneurs create strong businesses, and we want the space to work for the annual boat show.
Historic Annapolis recently hosted a focus group to review the City Dock Master Plan published a few years ago by a group of citizen volunteers (I was on the commission). It was clear that the plan should be studied, updated, and adopted. Someone remarked that, “Inaction has caused some of the divisiveness about the future of City Dock.” I would swap the thought and say, “Divisiveness caused the inaction about the future of City Dock.” Come on Annapolis, let’s take on the challenge and make City Dock a focal point of our great city.