Annapolis leaders have effectively killed a controversial plan to centralize government offices by selling the historic City Hall to the YWCA.
A City Council subcommittee slashed more than $2 million in the capital budget earmarked for the proposed deal, which called for moving administrative offices to a five-story building owned by Annapolis Federal Savings Bank on Main Street. The budget is expected to be approved by the council tonight.
The YWCA is quietly continuing to negotiate on a property in the Bestgate area. The non-profit agency wants to consolidate its services for women, including its Woman's Center, now on Duke of Gloucester Street, and programs for displaced homemakers and teen-age mothers.
"Our primary focus is working with women in crisis situations, and we would like to bring the services together," said Dolores Bail, theagency's executive director. She said that the YWCA is still considering other real-estate options in addition to the land in the Bestgate Road area.
In late March, Mayor Alfred A. Hopkins unveiled a proposed swap with the YWCA to bring scattered government offices under one roof. The administration would move into Annapolis Federal, and the bank would then take control of the Colonial-era City Hall and sell it to the YWCA.
The council gave the plan a cool reception, eventhough Hopkins promised that the city would retain its meeting room on the second floor, once a ballroom at which George Washington danced at a party in his honor in 1783.
Hopkins appointed three aldermen to review the city's space needs. The Office of Planning and Zoningand personnel department are currently squeezed into an old fire station on Duke of Gloucester Street, across from City Hall. City workers have complained that the ground floor has no bathrooms, the stairs are rickety and the building seems unsafe.
Central Services Director Emory Harrison said last week that the fire station cleared an inspection by engineers from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
The newly formed committee, consisting of AldermenJohn Hammond, R-Ward 1, Ruth Gray, R-Ward 4, and Ellen O. Moyer, D-Ward 8, will study the government's space needs.