David Jarrell: Hillman Garage may be closing, but Annapolis remains open

On May 2, after the Annapolis Spring Sailboat Show closes, Hillman Garage will close for a 14-month rebuild. During construction of the new garage, we want residents, businesses and visitors to know that downtown Annapolis will remain open for business, with alternate parking and transportation options in place.

Hillman Garage, just off Main Street, is over 40 years old. It reached the end of its life ten years ago, when structural assessments determined the need to replace it. After the recent 12 month design process which included extensive public input, we are on the verge of building a new garage that will meet our current and future needs.

In 2019, Mayor Gavin Buckley and Historic Annapolis named over 100 residents and business owners to the City Dock Action Committee. Their goal was to find solutions to the more frequent and intense flooding in the city center around City Dock. This community process generated a creative “consensus” plan for the City Dock Revitalization and Resilience Project.

To advance the City Dock project, the city has developed a public-private partnership (P3) agreement that uses parking revenue to fund both projects, avoiding the high price tag on city ratepayers. To leverage the parking lot’s asset, the city engaged a development team (known as Annapolis Mobility and Resilience Partners or AMRP) to design and build the new garage as well as finance, operate and l ‘maintain.

Through the P3 arrangement, Annapolis obtains a new parking garage and a substantial concession payment for the City Dock project. In return, AMRP gets a 30-year concession to collect parking revenue to pay the cost of financing (debt) and the cost of operating and maintaining the garage. All remaining parking revenue goes to the city. The City will continue to set garage parking rates.

The new garage will be a nice addition to downtown. Although the current garage does not have stormwater control, the new garage will capture stormwater on site, helping to improve water quality in Spa Creek. Additionally, there will be 165 additional parking spaces, gateless entry and exit, smart parking technologies, electric vehicle charging stations, bike racks, working elevators and solar panels to generate electricity. electricity and provide shade.

We understand that the reconstruction will involve uncertainty for local businesses. We also know that other municipalities have completed even larger parking projects. And although we understand that a project like this cannot be done without some inconvenience, we have worked very hard to minimize the negative impacts.

We have developed a temporary mobility plan that will facilitate parking in garages and lots along West Street. We have contracted with a tram company to provide transportation to the city center from nearby parking lots in a way that is not only easy, but fun. To visit www.AccessAnnapolis.com to discover the free shuttle, electric cart and on-demand options for getting around.

We encourage residents and visitors to do their part to keep our historic city alive by continuing to come downtown and sharing information about alternative parking and transit options. None of the charm of downtown Annapolis is going away. Your favorite places are still there – still giving you the amazing customer service, dining options and retail experiences you know and love.

And in 14 months — when we cut the ribbon on the new garage — we’ll not only have more parking spaces, we’ll have an amazing new asset to our city.

Jarrell is the city manager of Annapolis.

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