State plans few renovations for fishing pier


A couple of lights, a few parking spaces, a wooden railing, some plants. That's about all the sprucing up the state is planning for its new 280-foot fishing pier at the old Severn River Bridge.

The more ambitious visions of Anne Arundel County Council Chairwoman Diane Evans and a few others for adding a gazebo, benches and water hoses will have to wait.

Ms. Evans put together a committee that would sell individual bricks to pay for the resurfacing of the pier and to raise money for the county's Cultural Arts Foundation. The group had suggested that the additional renovations would attract a more diverse group of visitors.

"We are not attempting to deal with that now. We are trying to get immediate decisions in place," said Kenneth E. Shanks, Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR)southern region chief for greenways and resource planning.

He said the basic work needs to be done quickly because it is part of a State Highway Administration (SHA) contract.

The state proposal will be presented at a 5:30 p.m. forum today at DNR headquarters in Annapolis. Mr. Shanks said the meeting is being held to solicit comment from an advisory committee of about a dozen people and other members of the public. The decisions, however, will be made by the state agencies.

SHA spokesman Chuck Brown said the agency expects to have the work done by early June.

But Ms. Evans said yesterday that she intends to bring up the issue of a gazebo at the forum today.

"I would like to to talk to them about a covered structure," she said. "I am not deterred a bit."

The improvements will be incorporated into the SHA contract with Cianbro Inc., the company that is tearing down the old span that carried Route 450 over the Severn River and is building the replacement U.S. Naval Academy Bridge.

The rail, at the end of the pier, would be lower in some places for handicapped access. Four lights, the same as those on the bridge, would be added. Barriers would be installed to prevent motorists from driving through Jonas Green State Park onto the pier. And there would be more parking as well as a lighted walkway. No cost estimate was available.

While some neighbors of the pier have opposed encouraging people to fish there, Mr. Shanks said the old bridge was also used for fishing.

"This is an historic public access to the river, so it is important for the state to maintain that. At the same time, this is a small community park," Mr. Shanks said. "I believe those two things can be balanced."

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