Ralliers urge courthouse OK

June 20, 1993|By Staff report

A dozen Annapolis business leaders braved the sweltering heat Friday afternoon to rally in front of the city's historic courthouse in support of a $43 million expansion project.

Downtown merchants, lawyers, and representatives of the hotel and restaurant industry urged Annapolis' historic preservationists to approve the planned 250,000-square-foot Circuit Courthouse near Church Circle.

"Without the courthouse, it is easy to visualize either a ramshackle empty downtown or a tourist boardwalk," said Terry Drake, president of the Annapolis Business Coalition.

The Annapolis Historic District expressed strong reservations last week about the size and scale of the new building, which would take up most of a city block.

While approving a plan to restore the historic 1824 courthouse facing Church Circle, commission members balked at the size of the expansion. They asked county officials and architect Howard I. Melton to come back Tuesday night with a building design that fits in better with the surrounding homes in the historic district.

Mayor Alfred A. Hopkins and other city officials have warned the commission against forcing the courthouse out of Annapolis.

"What we have to do now is make sure it all jells," said Tom Negri, manager of Loews Annapolis Hotel on West Street.

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