Shovels poised at Rowe Blvd. after 10 years of talk

August 31, 1994|By Liz Atwood | Liz Atwood,Sun Staff Writer

Ten years after state officials first began discussing beautification plans for the Rowe Boulevard entrance to Annapolis, work finally is about to begin.

A groundbreaking ceremony for the first phase, a $1.42 million project to improve drainage and upgrade the median strip, has been scheduled next Wednesday at Calvary United Methodist Church, on the south side of the boulevard, just west of College Creek.

Corman Construction, of Annapolis Junction, has been awarded the contract for the project.

Additional work has been planned to coincide with the construction of a new District Court building at Rowe Boulevard and Taylor Avenue and replacement of the Weems Creek and College Creek bridges. Those improvements, however, will have to await approval and funding by the next governor.

The entire project would take at least three to five years, said Charles B. Adams, director of the state Department of Transportation's office of environmental design.

The median strip project, which involves installing a raised curb and planting shrubbery, is the easiest part of the job, Mr. Adams said.

Later plans call for installing informational signs that pedestrians could read as they walk from the Navy Marine Corps Memorial Stadium to State Circle. The state also plans observation areas on the College Creek bridge.

Preliminary drawings show ornamental posts at the ends of the bridges. Atop the College Creek bridge posts are sculptures of osprey hovering over a nest.

In an effort to incorporate the state office buildings into the street scape, the state proposes a bricked courtyard in front of the Tawes building and greater accessibility into the nearby garden.

One suggestion is to erect a statue to commerce in front of the Tawes building, a bold step for a state capital that has few statues.

Community groups generally have been pleased with the plans, which stem from a 1991 state study, Mr. Adams said.

Alderman Dean Johnson, whose ward the boulevard cuts through, said Rowe Boulevard looks incomplete and lacks unity dTC with the historic downtown.

Sheila Tolliver, president of the Admiral Heights Improvement Association, said residents are looking forward to improvements in the sidewalks and bridges.

Although some were concerned that drawings showed the addition of a third traffic lane on Rowe Boulevard, designers said no additional traffic flow is expected.

"We loved the beautification," she said.

Although sketches are preliminary, she said people are open-minded about the statues and ornaments. She said the community appreciates the state's openness and willingness consult residents about the plans.

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