Annapolis' City Dock to get $1.5 million upgrade

Project will replace bulkheads, boardwalk

April 27, 2005|By Childs Walker | Childs Walker,SUN STAFF

Annapolis' aging City Dock will get its first major face-lift in 30 years, starting in the fall, with help from a $500,000 state grant.

As part of the $1.5 million project - a federal grant and city money will account for the rest - the city will replace the dock's failing bulkheads and deteriorating boardwalk.

The city also plans to add utility lines to serve visiting boats and to fortify the foundation of the dock's park area, built on fill composed largely of oyster shells. The utility lines would be hidden from view.

"We have made replacements to the infrastructure on a piecemeal basis, but much more is required to make it safe for the volume of people using this facility," said Mayor Ellen O. Moyer.

City officials estimate that several million people a year use the City Dock, and a 2002 city survey found that the maritime industry is worth $160 million a year to Annapolis.

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. said that by giving the grant, the state was emphasizing the importance of recreational boating, a $2 billion-a-year industry in Maryland.

Annapolis officials say they hope to make the dock more resistant to wear and tear. They plan to build the new bulkhead with a vinyl-and-steel sheath that they say will not allow chemicals from the treated wood behind it to leach into the water. The officials said they will also build the boardwalk of recycled wood or a wood substitute, either of which would last longer than the treated wood in place now.

City officials hope to solicit bids on the project soon, but will not begin work until late October or early November.

After the dock renovation, city leaders hope to dredge a small section of the harbor to make it more accessible to boats. Moyer included $970,000 for dredging in her 2006 budget, but during hearings on the budget, city planning officials have said they oppose that spending.

Bob Agee, the city administrator, said the dredging project has been misunderstood as a large-scale expansion of the shipping channel into the harbor. He said the work would eliminate only a few bumps and allow the city to study the soil at the bottom of the harbor to see if it could be used to construct seawalls or wetlands.

Moyer also wants the harbor to be guarded 24 hours a day, an expense she hopes the state will share.

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