On football Saturdays, the streets surrounding Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium are clogged with motor homes and sport utility vehicles. The people who live along these streets know to plan their day around the game. They don't even try to leave their driveways while fans are coming in, and they get home before the final whistle.
For five or six games a year, it's not so bad. In fact, when the stadium was built 43 years ago, the residents of these quiet communities expected it - even welcomed it.
But proposals being floated to expand the stadium complex and build a visitors center along Rowe Boulevard have residents worried in this sliver of Annapolis, where a jazz festival at the stadium in June drew complaints about noise, trash and congestion.
"The concerns are escalating," said Debbie McKerrow of the Admiral Heights Improvement Association, who has helped form a coalition of representatives from neighborhoods surrounding the stadium, such as West Annapolis, Wardour and Admiral Heights. "All of these things have a direct impact on property values and quality of life."
It's an issue that has united neighborhoods that had never really come together before, as had their counterparts in Ward 1 in downtown Annapolis, where the citizens group meets regularly and has the ear of the city council.
"We need to be a cohesive group to be able to move forward," said McKerrow, who said members of the coalition plan to meet with local officials this fall. "We felt it was time to get together."
The issue is being driven by Naval Academy concerns about the state of the aging 35,000-seat stadium.
Jack Lengyel, the academy's athletic director and head of the Naval Academy Athletic Association (NAAA), which runs the stadium, said the facility needs about $1.5 million in renovations, including reinforcement of concrete, a new press box and added permanent seats.
To pay for renovations, Lengyel said, the association must find more revenue sources, such as the Capital Jazz Fest in early June, because the NAAA charges very little to those who use the stadium property and parking lot.
"We want to look at what else we can do with the stadium," Lengyel said. "We're constantly looking at new revenue sources."
The two-day Jazz Fest was a test by the city to see whether the stadium could handle such events. But after receiving numerous complaints about noise and traffic, the mayor said the experiment had failed.
The Jazz Fest, some residents say, caused tension between the school and the community.
"This is the first time that there's been any ill will," said Gretchen Clift of the Wardour/West Annapolis Citizens Planning Team, charged by the city with outlining a development plan for the area.
Alderman Sheila M. Tolliver, who represents Ward 2, including the area around the stadium, said residents understand that there will be additional stadium uses, but they fear that too much commercial activity will disrupt their quiet neighborhoods.
"The community has been very gracious dealing with the games and civic and charitable uses of the stadium," Tolliver said.
In addition, the Naval Academy has suggested building a parking garage on the stadium lot, which has 5,000 spaces, to help alleviate the city's parking crunch. At a State Commission on the Capital City meeting in March, academy officials outlined two proposed garages: a four-level structure with 2,680 spaces and a six-level structure with 870 spaces.
Lengyel said the stadium is in dire need of additional parking as the fan base continues to grow. He has said, too, that widening Rowe Boulevard to six lanes is essential to stadium growth.
The State Highway Administration has formed a task force of residents, civic leaders and business owners to determine what improvements are needed for Rowe Boulevard. The group met in May and is scheduled to meet again next month.
Clift, who is on the task force, said widening the road would eliminate trees and increase traffic in the community.
"It doesn't really make sense that they [NAAA] want to do that," she said.
Clift said residents also fear that a visitors center proposed for Rowe Boulevard would bring increased traffic and pollution.
The Annapolis, London Town and South County Heritage Area Committee has recommended a center with parking for six large buses, 25 shuttle buses and 280 cars, but has not finalized a location.
Clift said residents plan to meet with committee members this month to discuss their concerns.
"We're not against a nice building they might put on the site," she said. "We're against a great increase in bus traffic."
Sun staff writer Amanda Crawford contributed to this article.