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Historic Annapolis secures $107,000 from National Park Service to finish City Dock plan


Source: The Baltimore Sun, Brooks DuBose

The National Park Service is giving Historic Annapolis more than $100,000 in the first year of a five-year partnership to finish a plan that would guide City Dock revitalization projects.

The $107,000 award will be used to field more public input for the City Dock Consensus Plan and to conduct a feasibility study for remaking the historic Burtis House. The Burtis House study will explore ways to make the historic building more resilient to weather and rising sea levels. It also will study the potential of moving the Harbormaster’s office into the house.

The consensus plan is being developed by the City Dock Action Committee and is about 95% complete, Bryce Turner, member of the committee and CEO of BCT Architects, wrote in an email. The plan includes strategies to redevelop the public land around City Dock by adding more green spaces and sidewalks and address flooding issues while protecting local businesses and parking.

More specific details from the plan will be announced on Oct. 29, said Historic Annapolis Board of Trustees Chairman William Kardash.

“There’s been numerous studies and reports done and they basically die on the vine,” Kardash said. “The biggest challenge for us is how to keep the ball in play. You’ve got this plan, you’ve got this consensus how do you move it to the next step. That’s where we’re focusing our attention now.”

The partnership between Historic Annapolis and the National Park Service was announced Tuesday night at Historic Annapolis’ annual meeting. It restores a years-long partnership between the two groups, said Wendy O’Sullivan, superintendent of the National Park Service Chesapeake Bay Office. City Dock was deemed a Chesapeake Bay Gateway in 2001. Annapolis’ historic district was recognized as a national historic landmark in 1965.

“Historic Annapolis and the City are doing truly innovative, collaborative work in re-envisioning the future of City Dock and we are proud to join the effort,” O’Sullivan said in a statement. “City Dock and the entire historic district are local and national treasures — true gateways to the Chesapeake Bay. We are thrilled to enter a long-term partnership for enhancing access to these treasures and telling the Chesapeake story.”

Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley said in a statement “the City Council will get to work” on implementing plans from the partnership.

The National Park Service’s Chesapeake Bay Gateways program is providing the funding, which covers the first year of the partnership. Historic Annapolis will match the park service’s funding with in-kind resources, Historic Annapolis Vice President of Preservation Karen Brown said.

The Chesapeake Conservancy, which works with the National Park Service in maintaining and expanding the Chesapeake Bay Gateway Network, is also involved in the partnership.

“We’re thrilled to be part of this partnership which brings together the right leadership, creative talents, and innovative thinking to be successful,” Chesapeake Conservancy President and CEO Joel Dunn wrote in a statement.

“(The partnership) is stimulated by a number things, one of them if not the major one is the tremendous collaboration effort between Historic Annapolis and the City to re-envision City Dock,” said Jonathan Doherty, assistant superintendent of the National Park Service Chesapeake Bay Office. “That creates an opportunity and a stimulus for how we can help and build on that.”

The funding for future years of the partnership has not yet been determined, as federal funding is typically done on a year-by-year basis, Doherty said.