Annapolis officials have turned to the state and Anne Arundel Countyfor help in reopening the McNasby's seafood processing plant.
Thecity has asked the county Office of Economic Development and the state Department of Economic and Employment Development for $140,000 in loans for the project.
City officials met with representatives from the county and stateagencies Thursday. Annapolis Senior Planner Mary Burkholder said thecity received tentative commitments from the agencies, but said the loans still must be formally approved. That could take as much as twomonths, she said.
"We're all very hopeful and very confident thatwe can work something out," Burkholder said.
In addition to paying off the loans, the city will contribute $25,000 toward the renovations, which were ordered by state health inspectors last year. The City Council's finance committee approved the $25,000 expenditure last week.
The plant, which closed in 1987, was reopened as a watermen'scooperative in Nov. 1989, after the city bought the plant for $1.2 million. The retail division and the back loading dock reopened for watermen to sell their catches, but state health inspectors have refused to allow the processing operation to reopen until it meets sanitation and cleanliness standards.
The state ordered $175,000 in renovations last March, among them the instillation of a $25,000 sprinkler,new restrooms and showers and flooring. The city thought it could get state financing for the renovations, but the money dried up, delaying the reopening further.
Recently, state inspectors waived a few of the renovations, dropping the price to $165,000. Burkholder said the work will take about four months once the loans are approved.
The 50-member co-op, financed by a $45,000 loan and new members' fees,is the only one of its kind in the state. The co-op has lost money much of the time it's been open, but Burkholder said it recently beganturning a small profit. She said the co-op needs the processing operation to be competitive.
"We feel that in order to develop a solidbusiness, we need that final part," she said.