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Annapolis seeks legislators' aid on water tanks


Annapolis' representatives in the General Assembly will try to get $4 million for two water storage tanks to better equip the city to fight a fire similar to the five-alarmer that destroyed a 98-year-old Main Street building in December 1997.

Mayor Dean L. Johnson made a pitch for the money in a meeting Friday with state Sen. John C. Astle, Delegates Michael E. Busch, Virginia P. Clagett and Richard D'Amato and County Councilwoman Barbara Samorajczyk.

Johnson said the 11-member Commission to Study Fire Safety -- created after the Main Street blaze tore a hole in the heart of the city's Historic District -- determined that the city needs enough tanks to hold a combined 6 million gallons.

"We're at 2.75 million now," Johnson said. "So [the new tanks] would take us up to 4.75 million."

Firefighters pumped water from the City Dock to spray on the blaze at 184-186 Main St.

Busch said the delegates would see where they could get the money.

"I want to find out how doable this is and where's the best place to get money for this," he said.

At the same meeting, the politicians discussed introducing state legislation to resurrect the Capital City Commission, which, for more than two decades, brought together the governor, the mayor of Annapolis, the Anne Arundel County executive and the Naval Academy superintendent to coordinate activities and discuss construction needs in the capital city. The commission was disbanded about 10 years ago.

"The government players in the Annapolis area are many and varied," Johnson said. "This gets them around the same table."

Busch said having such a commission could ease problems such as city residents' unhappiness with their lack of input in planning the new District Court building on Rowe Boulevard.

He said he was crafting a bill to propose the commission.

Busch also said the legislators would file two bond bills in February -- one for $300,000 for Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts in Annapolis and the other for $250,000 for Parole Health Center.

Johnson said he was pleased with the meeting.

"Apparently it was the first time ever that folks from all levels of the government in the area have sat around a table and conversed easily and injected a little humor in the conversation as well," he said.

Pub Date: 1/24/99

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