Annapolis officials have worried for years about the city's dwindling maritime industry. Now they hope to revive it by building a city boatyard and boardwalk on Back Creek in Eastport.

The project, whichofficials say is years from construction, would include space for new maritime businesses, a public boatyard, a yacht racing center, a restaurant, a waterfront boardwalk, an education facility for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, a harbor master's office, docks and slips, a public launching ramp and a water taxi stop.

The waterfront complex would be built between Second Street and Eastern Avenue, where Bert Jabin's Boatyard is. City officials stress the project is just a concept, a set of guidelines architects will use when they draw up plans for the development next month.

"It will give us a vision of the future we now don't have to protect the undeveloped waterfront and preserve the maritime industry, and at the same time, protect the character of the neighborhood," said Alderman Ellen O. Moyer, D-Ward 8, who has dreamed of doing the project for several years.

About 30 volunteers from the Chesapeake Bay Chapter of the American Institute of Architects will draft plans for the property the weekend of June 7-9. Residents are invited to participate in the "design charrette" weekend. Architects Catherine Cherry and MichaelDowling organized the effort at the request of Senior Planner Mary Burkholder.

Burkholder said the project most likely would be a public-private partnership. The city could use the architects' drawings to get short-term funding from the non-profit Trust for Public Land, which loans money to projects that provide public access to the waterfront. The trust will be involved in the design weekend. The city alsohopes to get financing from the state Department of Economic and Employment Development.

The drawings also could be used to attract maritime businesses and organizations to invest in the property, savingsuch groups the cost of designing a project.

One source said it would cost $2 million to $3 million to buy Jabin's boatyard. The entire project would cost several million dollars, officials said.

Jabin's two-acre boatyard includes frontage along Back Creek. It is across Second Street from the McNasby's seafood processing plant, which the city reopened as a watermen's cooperative in 1989.

Officials envision a boardwalk extending along the waterfront from Third Street toa watermen's museum behind McNasby's, incorporating both projects ina maritime development.

"The city has taken a strong position supporting the maritime industry," said Planning and Zoning Director Eileen Fogarty. "The city has said, 'We want the maritime industry here'with projects like McNasby's. Now we're moving into a new phase, taking a property and saying, 'What can we do with this property?' "

The design weekend will be at Horn Point Harbor Marina on Eastern Avenue. It will begin about 4:30 p.m. Friday, June 7, with a presentation, speakers and a discussion. Cherry said Friday would be a good timefor residents to attend and give their input.

Five teams of architects will go to work about 7 a.m. Saturday and work through the night designing the project. A jury of architects will critique the plansSunday afternoon. A schedule for the weekend will be ready soon.

Cherry and Dowling said the architects won't mind giving up a weekendfor the project. "It's a challenging project that would only come along once in a lifetime at a firm, and it's a chance to work with other architects and give something back to the community," Dowling said.

Cherry said the project won't be like Baltimore's Inner Harbor. "The setbacks and zoning restrictions here wouldn't allow that," she said. "We're not talking one huge thing, but a series of smallerstructures connected by walkways."

Groups that have expressed support for or interest in the project include: the American Society of Landscape Architects, Baltimore's Neighborhood Design Center, the Annapolis Chamber of Commerce, the Eastport Historic Committee, the city Maritime Advisory Board and Department of Recreation and Parks, Friends of the Parks, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the Maryland Watermen's Association, the Eastport Community Association and the Marine Trades Association.

Anyone interested in attending the design weekend June 7-9 should call Cathy Cherry at 267-6041 or Michael Dowling at 269-0621.

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