DOWNTOWN, COME AND GET IT! ~ Annapolis Capital Punishment

Sunday, November 4, 2007


Annapolis Politics has displayed a collection of vacant and “for lease” storefront photos from downtown Annapolis to make a point about its future. See "A Sign of things to come" at . While I do not completely agree with his dire assessment nor his description of downtown’s “lackluster transportation” I have blogged before about how political and business leaders may not grasp the coming storm due to massive new development near but not in downtown. We cannot nor should we try to compete directly with Parole, the Mall etc.. While we have a lot of transportation options, they are not properly marketed or utilized while we focus too much on parking and “parking problems”. We suffer from a sort of split personality disorder about downtown, with different factions wanting almost totally opposite goals.
What we must do is focus and “capitalize” on what makes downtown special and unique. In addition to its inherent colonial charm and scenic waterfront, what I am referring to is its walkability, rather than moving cars and storing cars and more cars. Downtown must be for people, not cars. Let the big box and big developments invite cars. We can be better.
Downtown has always had high turnover with stores coming and going, yet there are also many stores and restaurants that have been there for many years, if not decades. Many of the stores currently vacant and available are that way because they have been newly renovated, in some cases due to to three fires. They will be busy again soon. Consider this period of renovation and re-letting to be a period of renewal. Some would say that is a sign of strength, rather than a sign of weakness. However, the long-term prognosis is still shakey.


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