Annapolis officials have called for a one-day retreat to come up with solutions to the drug-related violence that has plagued the city recently.
The public is invited to the retreat, which will be held April 26 in Quiet Waters Park.
Aldermen Carl O. Snowden, D-Ward 5, and Ellen O. Moyer, D-Ward 8,came up with the idea for the retreat after a curfew proposed by Mayor Alfred A. Hopkins was defeated. Hopkins asked those who opposed the curfew to propose their own solutions.
"Annapolis is a neighborhood," Moyer said. "All of you have lived in a neighborhood and you know how they function. When people feel threatened, they come together. This is an opportunity to pool our collective wisdom. This neighborhood is going to solve its problems, and this is the first step."
The retreat was announced yesterday at a press conference in City Hall. Emily Green, a Hopkins aide, said organizers plan six workshops the morning of the event, on alcohol and drug abuse, sex and health issues, crime in the community, recreational alternatives for children and teen-agers, media relations and family support systems. Each workshop will run twice so participants can attend two.
The afternoon will be spent in focus groups developing solutions to problems. Representatives from the U.S. Department of Justice's Community Relations Division and the county State's Attorney's Office, among others, will attend the retreat. Organizers expect about 100 people to attend the event.
Snowden said the retreat will address a wide range of issues, such as an increasing number of women who prostitute themselves for crack and a lack of affordable drug-treatment programs for people seeking help.
"This is the first effort on the part of the administration and the City Council to develop a plan of action that will be inclusive of all groups in the city," Snowden said. "Last year, we had a record five murders in the city and the majority were drug-related. We don't want to see a repeat this year."
Snowden and Moyer weren't the only ones answering Hopkins' call to action.
The Alliancefor a Drug-Free Annapolis has proposed creating a teen center for high school students. Much of the debate over Hopkins' proposed curfew focused on teen-agers hanging out downtown. Alliance Chairwoman Kathy Miller and Director Rodney Calver said they hope a teen center would give kids something to do.
The teen center would be open after school and on weekends, and would play host to activities, tutoring, informal counseling, arts, sports and dances.
The alliance will unveil details of the plan at the April 26 retreat. The group will hold ameeting 8 p.m. May 2 in the Eastport fire hall to recruit volunteersto work on the project.
"These youngsters are not welcome downtown, at the mall or at restaurants, and other alternatives left to them may be less than desirable," Miller said. "The overwhelming majority of adolescents in our city are responsible, healthy individuals that deserve a great place to be together."
There is no charge to attend the retreat is free, although people must pre-register with Green by April 12 by calling 269-6227. The retreat will be held from 9 a.m.to 3 p.m.