Arundel gives city $750,000 to help rebuild Inner West St. Hopkins, Gary say project will boost ailing corridor

October 03, 1997|By Dan Thanh Dang | Dan Thanh Dang,SUN STAFF

The city of Annapolis got a much-needed $750,000 infusion from Anne Arundel County yesterday to help rebuild a seven-block stretch of Inner West Street and boost economic development in the ailing corridor.

Announcing the aid, Mayor Alfred A. Hopkins and County Executive John G. Gary stressed the importance of the revitalization project to the city's well-being. The project will cost about $8 million.

In offering aid to the city, Gary said the county is "in pretty good shape at the moment."

"We will do what we can to help the city make this dream a reality," Gary said. "The future of the city is directly proportional to the success of this project, and Al Hopkins recognized that.

"The city is the jewel of Anne Arundel County," Gary added.

The $750,000 will be distributed to the city over the next few years by the Anne Arundel Economic Development Corp. (AAEDC). Also, AAEDC is expected to apply for up to $500,000 in state funding through Maryland's Neighborhood Business Development Program.

A main artery

The multimillion-dollar face lift planned for West Street, one of the main arteries into the downtown district, involves the city's last parcel of land that can be developed for business growth.

Yesterday, the mayor also announced that a $275,000 contract was awarded to the Baltimore design firm of Rummel, Klepper & Kahl, the group hired for the recently completed Main Street reconstruction project.

This begins the first phase of a $696,000 design project that will take about 18 months, city officials said. The plans involve placing overhead wires underground, replacing underground utilities and reconstructing the road and sidewalks.

Basic design elements will include brick sidewalks, granite curbs, asphalt roadways, special intersection pavement treatments, crosswalk paving and new street lights and street furniture. The West Street revitalization plans also include construction of a $4.9 million traffic circle at Taylor Avenue and West Street.

"The Inner West Street corridor represents a marvelous opportunity for forward-looking economic development for the city," Hopkins said.

"West Street deserves to be viewed as a major gateway to the downtown historic district, and I am extremely pleased that County Executive John Gary shares that view," Hopkins said.

Building planned

Meanwhile, Annapolis developers Herrmann Dunn Real Estate revealed plans to build a $4.5 million office building across West Street from Loews Annapolis Hotel. Construction of the 40,590-square-foot building is expected to begin in February with the first tenant space ready for occupancy by September 1998, said owner T. Phillip Dunn.

City officials praised the building commitment and said they had high hopes it would attract tenants to the area. Energy company Chilgener S. A., which has temporary office space on West Street, was the first to commit yesterday.

Chilgener officials, who were at the news conference, said they plan to open their new headquarters in the Dunn building by the end of next year.

"There will be about 60 people in our headquarters," said Executive Vice President Steve Eckert. "When we were looking for a place for the company, we actually looked for a nice place to live that would be stimulating for young employees and that had a good transportation system.

"Annapolis seemed like a good fit," Eckert said.

Pub Date: 10/03/97

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