Signs point to revival of West St. in Annapolis

Road improvements, development in works

July 02, 2002|By Amanda J. Crawford | Amanda J. Crawford,SUN STAFF

The green and white banners on Annapolis' inner West Street proclaim, "It's happening."

Property owners and business persons along the stretch of road from Church Circle to Westgate Circle hope the message, part of a $25,000 marketing campaign by the city, is more than just civic optimism.

Supporters point to encouraging signs: the issuance yesterday of building permits for the Park Place development, the city's plans to begin the second phase of improvements to the road and other developments in the works.

"In the next year, you will see a lot of tangible things happening that are really going to give enormous boost and reality to that phrase," Bob Kramer, Park Place spokesman, said about the new slogan.

In the short term, though, motorists will have to endure traffic snarls as the city replaces utility lines, repaves streets and improves the streetscape from Colonial Avenue to Calvert Street.

The mostly derelict strip has been targeted by the city for revitalization for almost two decades. Development has come in spurts over the years, but business owners, city officials and developers predict that soon their hopes for the street will be realized.

Last week, the city launched the marketing campaign to help promote West Street businesses during road reconstruction.

The second phase of the $13.1 million project is expected to tie up traffic on the stretch for about 10 months, said Joseph A. Baker Jr., the city's chief of engineering and construction. The first phase was completed in January; the third phase will extend improvements from Calvert Street to Church Circle.

Baker said the city will offer incentives, expected to be about $1,000 a day, for early completion of the second phase of construction. The city hopes its marketing campaign will help businesses on the street during construction.

As part of the marketing campaign, businesses on the first block of West Street closest to Church Circle are holding events the first Sunday of every month. Next week will feature a farmers' market and live music. And a music store, Acousticopia, will hold its grand opening.

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