Annapolis mayor to set up committee to review city's crowded civic calendar Panel will consider moving, cutting activities

December 11, 1998|By Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan | Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan,SUN STAFF

After listening to weary Annapolitans' complaints about some of the more than 200 parades, boat shows and fun runs the city played host to last year, the mayor is forming a committee to evaluate whether some of those events should be cut.

Mayor Dean L. Johnson said yesterday he is putting together a 13-member group of city business owners, residents and event organizers to analyze happenings in Annapolis over a five- to six-month period. He said he would announce the committee -- the first of its kind in the city -- on Monday.

"It's a sort of review," Johnson said. "These things have grown over the years, and there hasn't been a stand-back to see how we've been handling them. I want the committee to look at what we do, how we do it, its economic impact on the city, the delay of traffic and extra cleanup."

Johnson, a Republican, said the committee is needed because the number of events requiring permits in Annapolis increases every year.

He hopes to use the committee's findings to decide whether some events should be rescheduled so they don't fall on weekends or at certain busy times of the year, moved to areas of Annapolis with less traffic or barred altogether if no alternative can be worked out.

"The question becomes one of, 'How many events can you handle as a practical matter?' " said Thomas W. Roskelly, the city spokesman who will work with the committee. "What should the criteria be for an event to be held on public property? When should you shut down a street? The mission is to assist the city in formulating a clear understanding and a fair policy for the city to pursue with special events and activities."

Johnson is announcing the committee days after Ward 5 Republican Alderman Herb McMillan proposed legislation to charge event organizers for city facilities and services, including police hired for traffic and crowd control. McMillan said the mayor's committee complements his proposal.

"Both are important in order for the city to have some measure of control over its budget," he said.

Ward 8 Democratic Alderman Ellen O. Moyer said she was curious to see who would be on the committee.

"It's important to have all the diverse elements," Moyer said. "You need people who've been involved in staging events. You have to have someone from the maritime community. They all have to be part of a committee like this for it to be fair."

Cynthia McBride, a member of the board of directors for the Annapolis Chamber of Commerce, said the committee is a good idea and she feels it will find that most events help the city.

"They are extremely positive for Annapolis," she said. "This is the state capital, and it's a beautiful city, and the events draw people from all around the world , which has a ripple effect all through the local economy."

Pub Date: 12/11/98

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