The Annapolis Historic Preservation Commission has deemed a long-awaited $13.5 million flood mitigation project at City Dock feasible, an important step in starting to address nuisance flooding that closes roads and damages businesses.
Lisa Grieco, a civil engineer with the city and the project manager, presented plans for a new pump station just off Compromise Street that will help prevent nuisance flooding that accounts for “95% of the flooding downtown,” she said.
The pump station will be nestled in a grassy area between the basketball court at the corner of Compromise and Newman streets and an existing dumpster enclosure on the parking lot of Annapolis Elementary School. The pump station will include a 350-kilowatt generator and other equipment to help pump floodwaters away from Compromise and Newman street.
“This nuisance flooding is due to high tides, not storms,” said Grieco and since the 1950s, such flooding events have increased from about three a year to about 40 annually.
In total, the project is expected to cost $13.5 million to design and construct. Permitting has already begun, bidding will begin later this year with construction starting in January and expected completion date of June 2022.
Thursday’s meeting was the fifth time the project has come before the commission since 2017 as it has changed shape several times in part due to numerous public meetings and community feedback. It was Grieco’s pre-application presentation, which is often done to get feedback from the commission before spending money on design costs, said Roberta Laynor, Annapolis chief of Historic Preservation.
The commission, chaired by Tim Leahy, praised the detail and thoroughness of the presentation. Next, the city will develop a full application that will be presented to the commission before the final submission.
The project also calls for re-grading part of the property that will feature ADA-compliant paths and a turf area for city activities. The basketball court and playground will not be impacted during construction, though there are plans to redevelop the court once construction is complete.
Construction for the pump station will be completed in two phases, Grieco said. The first will be to construct the pump station, wet well and local storm drains as well a 50-foot bulkhead that will stretch along the boardwalk to Fleet Reserve — similar to other bulkhead replacements the city has made in recent years. The second phase will come later to realign storm drains in the area.
In the 2020 fiscal budget, which ends Tuesday, more than $8.7 million was appropriated for the project through a mix of bonds, pay-go, state grants and capital reserve funds. All of those funds have been received except for a $3 million grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The city has not yet received the grant, but the funding is committed, Grieco said.
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Next fiscal year, the city will receive $700,000 in grants and pay $35,000 from the capital reserve for the project, which has seen an increase in cost due to tariffs and a scarcity of contractors.
The project also includes $4 million for the second phase of the project on Dock Street in fiscal year 2023 from a newly created resilience financing authority. The funding authority will issue and sell state or local bonds to fund resilience infrastructure projects like the one at City Dock.
In another corner of the property, a memorial to the five Capital Gazette employees who were murdered on June 28, 2018, has been planned. The two year commemoration of the shooting is on Sunday. The memorial is set to be completed next year.
Part of the presentation was led by Scott Seibel, a senior archeologist from global engineering firm AECOM, who completed an initial archeological analysis of the area. Artifacts dating back to the colonial era have already turned up, like a porcelain doll head, brass keys, slate pencils and even an old privy, Seibel said.
Due to the historical significance of the site, including the possibility of finding a scuttled ship buried in the area, additional oversight from state and federal agencies may also be necessary, Seibel said.
Leahy, and another commission member Patricia Zeno, asked that the final application include how these artifacts are shared with the public.
“It’s an important story to tell,” Zeno said.